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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Battle of the Beetle: The Journey Beyond is a children's fantasy novella written by Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves. Raphael and his companions, Frogeye, Sister Seven and Haniel, are being attacked by a gigantic beetle. It set its sights on Haniel, flew high into the sky, and then turned and plummeted at her, piercing her throat and beginning to feed on her blood. Raphael grabbed his sword and struck at the giant bug, carving off a piece of its wing, but the bug was not affected and reacted by flying into the sky once more to attack Raphael in turn. Raphael was ready and waiting with his sword, but the bug was wily and turned at the last minute, stabbing Raphael in the hand. The beetle then went on after Frogeye. No matter how hard they fought, the brave company seemed to have no way to combat this foe, until they invoke the forces of the universe for assistance.
Cheryl A. Matsen-Nieves' children's fantasy novella, Battle of the Beetle: The Journey Beyond, is a whimsical New Age tale that is original and entertaining. While I cringed at the thought of the beetle's eyes bubbling and dripping like lava, I imagine the targeted audience will be clapping and cheering as the persistent foe gets his comeuppance. Matsen-Nieves uses snappy dialog, idioms, rhymes and word play to keep the hilarity and whimsy going throughout this slightly different epic fantasy. This imaginative story should keep readers giggling and reading further as the adventurers battle bravely on despite overwhelming odds. Battle of the Beetle: The Journey Beyond is recommended reading for children who love fantasy.