We equate summertime with reading time, and it’s refreshing to find an author from the Ozarks who can tell quite a story, while entertaining and educating all at the same time. Robert U. Montgomery, lives in the Ozarks of Missouri and is well kn own as a fishing writer. He has published another children’s book (listed below), and been featured in Boy’s Life. It appears he took every advantage of being a boy.
‘Who Let the Bugs Out?’
I took his latest book, “Who Let the Bugs Out?” to read to my grandkids. Here’s how that went:
“Granny, who let the bugs out?” asked my 8-year-old granddaughter, as she cuddled close to me on the couch. My grandkids are 8 and 6, and I call them Pippy Jean and Cletus. Those aren’t their real names, of course, but it works for this purpose.
“Let’s wait and find out who let the bugs out,” I responded. To which Pippi Jean said, “I bet it’s the sister.”
Throughout the course of reading this book – which is a story about 4 rambunctious 11-year-old boys – my grandchildren asked questions. “Why are their necks so long?” “Why did they bring the lightning bugs inside?” “Did you play the game ‘Kick the Can,’ Granny?”
The book is set in summer, back in the day when kids could play outside safely after dark, and parents then came outside and called their names, signaling the end to another fun day and usually, time for a bath and bed.
How do I know this? Because as a child in the Dakotas, I lived this lifestyle in the ‘60s.
The plot involves 4 boys – Benny, Matt, Carl and Bobby (author) – collecting fireflies in jars and instead of letting them out at the end of the evening, consolidating the fireflies into 1 jar and sneaking the bugs into Bobby’s bedroom for a sleepover. They had plans to use them as a flashlight and then, set them loose out the window. However, without revealing too much, the fireflies found their way out of the jar and all over Bobby’s bedroom. To which his dad yelled, “Oh, shucks!” To which the author wrote, “Actually, he said something else. But I’m not supposed to use those kinds of words, so I won’t repeat it.” To which Cletus said, “Oh, Granny … I bet he said the ‘F’ word, but I’m not allowed to say that!”
The bratty sister entered the story at this point, and immediately, my granddaughter suspected this kid. “Now, I think she did it,” she stated.
You’ll have to buy the book and find out who let the bugs out. However, based on the reaction of my grandchildren, I’d say this book is a winner, a great summertime read. The illustrations, by art teacher Katie Abbott, make each page turn another adventure in color. Even though the characters’ necks are giraffe-long, they still appear human and frankly, real. I caught the grandkids looking all over the pages, soaking in all the information in its glorious colors, before allowing me to turn yet another page.
For my granddaughter, who is 8 but reading at the 6th-grade level, she seemed entertained and it made her think and ask about things – such as Granny’s childhood, fireflies and why they glow, the importance of telling the truth and why summer is so special. I think my grandson felt that he could relate to the boys and especially how Bobby felt about his sister.
More about the author
This book is the first in Montgomery’s series for kids that he calls “growing up with nature.” The plot is simple, but evokes plenty of conversational topics – such as games kids played, the anatomy of fireflies, telling the truth, getting punished for telling the truth, etc. He says he will be releasing “Who Let the Frogs Out” before Chirstmas this year.
The book is available for $12.99 on Amazon. Robert has written other books, and I believe the next one on my reading list with grandkids will be “Fish, Frogs, and Fireflies”, a book about exploring the outdoors.