Nestled in the grass under the big palm tree by the edge of the desert there is an entire civilization--a civilization of beetles. In this bug's paradise, beetles write books, run restaurants, and even do scientific research. But not too much scientific research is allowed by the powerful elders, who guard a terrible secret about the world outside the shadow of the palm tree.
Lucy is not one to quietly cooperate, however. This tiny field scientist defies the law of her safe but authoritarian home and leads a team of researchers out into the desert. Their mission is to discover something about the greater world...but what lies in wait for them is going to change everything Lucy thought she knew.
Beetles are not the only living creatures in the world.
Deftly combining suspenseful adventure storytelling with the principles and tools of scientific inquiry, entomologist and cartoonist Jay Hosler has created in Last of the Sandwalkers a tale that satisfies and fascinates even the most bug-averse among us.
A journey of discovery for a family of scientist-beetles becomes a journey of survival in Hosler's entomological adventure, an intriguing look at life from only a few millimeters off the ground. Leading the team is Lucy, a resourceful "sandwalker," and a keen, curious observer of the world, which she discovers is much larger than she previously thought after she and her team are betrayed and left for dead, far from their colony. Along the way home they encounter unfamiliar plants and animals that enthrall Lucy (even the ones trying to make a meal out of her). It takes the group's combined will and wit to make it back home in one piece and share their findings (specifically the bones of what they call a "hue-mon") with their intellectually isolated brethren. Hosler (Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth) peppers real-world facts throughout the story, showcasing the wild and wonderful ways bugs have adapted to nature. With that he mingles themes of family, forgiveness, and freedom of ideas, and even manages to make big-eyed, mandibled crawlers emotive without getting too cartoony. Ages 10 up.