Doug’s Dung (Once Upon a Garden) – Picture Book Review

By Jo Rooks
Published on: March 21, 2020

Dung Beetles! After reading this, I had a little bit of fun looking up on the Internet fun facts about this cute little beetle.

Doug’s Dung is a story about finding what you love and are good at and accepting those who are different.


Discover all of the lovable creatures and their stories in the Once Upon a Garden series.

Doug has trouble lifting heavy balls of dung. He just doesn’t feel as strong as the other dung beetles. When Doug feels down that he isn’t tough enough, a passing butterfly helps him see things in a different light and he realizes that strength comes in many forms. An uplifting story of a determined dung beetle who finds his unique strength in creating beautiful things inspired by nature, flowers, friends, and the garden.


Dung beetle’s are very strong and have lots of power. But even though Doug tries and tries he just isn’t very good at what other Dung beetles do. But then, he gets inspiration from a petal. He decides to make art out of his balls of dung. From there he gets another idea and another. Eventually, he wants to have an art show, but no one shows up. That is, until a butterfly wants to see it and then everybody becomes interested in it.

I love having a picture book focusing on the dung beetle. Picture books are awesome in all their options and creativity. The story was cute with key words or phrases within the story such as ‘determined,’ ‘never gave up’ bolded for emphasis. The only issue I had was the transition from no one showing up, to the butterfly wanting to see, followed by the dung beetles feeling sorry about everything. I felt like there just needed to be one additional piece tying the art Doug has created to why the other beetles felt bad. To me, it seemed they were only sorry because they weren’t part of the cool crowd looking at the art. I mean, it’s pretty accurate for human behavior, but not generally seen in picture books.

Rating: 4 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and American Psychological Association for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.

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