Book Review: 10 Little Insects by Davide Cali

We’re lucky here at My Little Bookcase to have been given the chance to preview this book before its official publication. 10 Little Insects is unlike any other book we’ve reviewed so far.

With 10 Little Insects as its title, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a counting book. In fact, it’s a graphic novel in the genre of a murder mystery, and one that I’d recommend for the tweens.

The story starts with 10 insects making their way to Tortoise Island for the weekend, each being invited under a false pretence. It doesn’t take long for the insects to work out that they’ve all received different invitations. With suspicion in mind, they realise that they’re playing out an insect version of 10 Little Indians, a well-known Agatha Christie murder mystery.

Just as in Agatha Christie’s classic, each insect is guilty of something, and this is where a plethora of insect related jokes emerge. The insects finally admit to sins that humans find irritating and creepy, from flies landing on cake icing to the Praying Mantis ripping of her husband’s head before eating him.

A comedy of errors develops. Strange events begin to take place, and one by one the insects begin to meet their deaths in the most unbelievable of circumstances.

It’s quite a long book, but you’ll be captivated by the murder mystery that unfolds;  the eccentric characters who are quick to blame each other;  the quirky twists; the unexpected turns and the witty one-liners. 10 Little Insects is like a good children’s movie; one that parents can take their kids to knowing they will be entertained, but with enough witty one-liners to ensure parents will be equally amused.

Cleverly written, 1000 scenarios will run through your mind as you try to solve the mystery. The ending though, I can almost guarantee you don’t see it coming.  There was never any intention to murder the insects. I can’t give away the punch-line, but know that you’ll laugh out loud when you find out why the insects were really invited to the island.

As I read this book, I constantly found myself thinking of a whole range of boys I’ve taught in the past; boys that I would have referred to as capable but reluctant readers. I wish I could have recommended this book to them.  As a graphic novel, it has a great number of illustrations to support the text. And whether we like it or not, my experience tells me that a bit of death, blood and guts never go astray with boys.

Originally written in French, this book has been translated and published by Wilkins Farago. It will be available from June 2012. Make sure you look out for it or pre-order your copy now.

An extract is also available if you wanted to take a sneak peek.

Editor’s Note: Davide Cali was born is Switzerland and raised in Italy. He is one of Europe’s most acclaimed children’s book writers having had 40 books published in 25 countries. We’ve already featured A Dad Who Measures Up and Santa’s Suit and we’re thrilled that Davide agreed to be a part of our confessions series (Check back here tomorrow).

It is with much anticipation that Davide visits Australia. To make him feel very welcome, some of Australia’s best book blogs have welcomed him with a blog tour. Make sure you take a blog hop and read more about Davide.

Book Details:

Author: Davide Cali

Illustrator: Vincent Pianina

ISBN: 978-0987109910

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Wilkins Farago

RRP: $29.99

Suitable for ages: 11+


  • Winner, Best Children’s Comic Book, Salon du Livre Jeunesse (France)
  • Winner, Garonne Comic Festival (France)
  • Winner,Tam-Tam Literary Prize (France)
  • One of the Best Graphic Novels of the Year – Angoulême International Comics Festival (France)

Book Review: 10 Little Insects by Davide Cali


  1. It sounds like a great book. A bit too advanced for my kids, but I think I’d enjoy it for a fun read.

    • jackie said: On May 5, 2012

      Definitely a book for adults to enjoy too. Like you my daughter was too young to read this book. I enjoyed it just on my own.

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