Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective, by David Biedrzycki, Charlesbridge, 2005. Preschool to Early Elementary.
Some years ago, I saw a show at the Orlando Science Center that featured a bug in a trench coat who talked like Sam Spade. I wondered what it was based on. Now I know: Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective.
The voice in my head when I read this book had a Sam Spade accent still. Maybe because I saw that skit years ago. Maybe not. In any case, Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective does read like Dashiell Hammett meets the insect world in picture book form. It’s great fun. And funny. When I reached the line “I wondered if he had a license to pass gas” I laughed out loud. I know people who need that license.
The artwork is wonderful. The bugs look like bugs. In clothes. And having facial expression. In film noir. And yet the species is still recognizable. Perfect!