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Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!

“Some bugs have superpower-like abilities” – Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!, p. 8.

Creator(s) Ashley Spires (author)
PublisherKids Can Press
Publication Date2021
GenreAnimal Comic, Fiction
Environmental Themes and Issues Anthropomorphism, Animals in Danger, Educational Nature Facts
Protagonist’s Identity Burt: Male, Nonhuman (Animal)
Protagonist’s Level of Environmental AgencyLevel 3: Moderate, Plot-Driven Environmental Agency
Target Audience Children (5 to 8 years)
Settings North America
Cover of Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!

Environmental Themes

Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite! is a humorous, yet educational, children’s comic that centers on Burt the June beetle as he tries to discover his secret talent. To his disappointment, he finds that other insects have abilities that he lacks. For instance, Burt can’t shoot ultrasonic blasts like a hawk moth or spray venom like some species of termites. As the comic’s title indicates, Burt also doesn’t bite. Instead, creator Ashley Spires depicts the beetle flying into porch lights and helplessly rolling around on his back. However, when Burt encounters insects trapped in a spiderweb, he finds that he does have useful abilities. He uses his sticky body to capture the spider, and he uses his heavy body to break the spiderweb and free the other insects. The comic’s narrator concludes that “June beetles might not have any superpower-like abilities, but they do make fantastic friends!” (Spires 52).

Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite! teaches young readers about the hawk moth’s ultrasonic abilities.

Creator Ashley Spires anthropomorphizes the insects, but the comic does effectively educate young readers about the unique abilities of different insect species. While the narrative does portray the spider negatively, it overall promotes a positive view of insects as friendly and interesting, not as frightening or disgusting creatures. No humans appear in the comic.

Burt uses his sticky legs and body to rescue other insects from a hungry spider in Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!


The comic includes a two-page paratext entitled “Awesome Insect SUPER Facts” that includes additional information about the insects featured in the comic, such as the horned dung beetle and the nasute termite.

Spires includes additional information about insects like the dung beetle and the dragonfly in the paratext of Burt the Beetle Doesn’t Bite!
Posted in Animal Comic, Educational, Fiction

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