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Read this when I was in primary school in Sydney, Australia, early 2010s. It was probably a small chapterbook with some pictures. I'm pretty sure the author is Australian but I'm not sure if it was in something like Aussie Bites, a compilation of australian children's books

Story starts with a boy being cruel to bugs: drowning, crushing, establishing he's bad. He wakes up tiny on a lilypad being rowed to bug court for his bug cruelty. At bug court he meets his lawyer, a Christmas beetle wearing a suit. I'm 80% sure his name was Frank but his name definitely started with an F. He was the only lawyer in the bug world willing to defend a human, and he never won a case. Frank tries to appeal to the judge but rules the boy guilty, and bug guards pull him away to the Honeycomb - bug jail. He wakes up and realises its all a dream, and decides he will be nicer to bugs after it - I'm pretty sure there's a scene where he bottles up a bug and releases it back into the wild

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  • That sure does ring a bell. It's also reminiscent of Erik of het Klein Insectenboek by Godfried Bomans, which also features a boy in the insect world, but under completely different circumstances.
    – SQB
    Oct 5 at 9:05
  • 1
    The Ant Bully shares the idea of insects putting a boy on trial, but the other bits don't match. Oct 5 at 14:16
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This is "Caught in the Act" by Christopher Stitt.

I did not know what to do. Here I was, on trial in an insect court, being defended by a Christmas beetle. It couldn't get any worse.

Back in 2010, the author was convicted for possession of child porn, and almost every news story about that was titled "Caught in the act".

2
  • Would you mind sharing how you found the answer? Even just a brief summary of your method may help others become better at finding stories themselves.
    – bobble
    Oct 17 at 23:38
  • @bobble: I vaguely remembered the book because after my Australian colleague had sent me a link to the news story about the author being convicted ten years ago I googled his works. But for the quotation, I searched for "Christmas beetle lawyer" on Google Books and it was the first hit.
    – Quassnoi
    Oct 18 at 0:00

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