Maybelle the Cockroach

Have you met Maybelle yet? If not, let me introduce you to the most charming cockroach you will ever meet.

I’m not usually a big fan of cockroaches, but this one has won my heart. Maybelle is very distinctive. Unlike other cockroaches, she wears a big pink bow on her head and a necklace of pearls.

Maybelle in the Soup

Maybelle lives under the fridge in the kitchen at Number 10 Grand Street. The owners of the house are Herbert and Myrtle Peabody. Mrs. Peabody insists that everything at Number 10 Grand Street must be JUST SO. And that there must be “absolutely, positively NO BUGS at Number 10 Grand Street.” Of course, she doesn’t know that she shares the house with Maybelle.

Maybelle’s good friend is Henry the flea. Henry dines regularly on Ramona, the Peabody’s cat.

There are just three rules that Maybelle must follow:

  1. When it’s light, stay out of sight.
  2. When you’re spied, better hide.
  3. Never meet with human feet.

These rules seem simple enough, but Maybelle always seems to be getting into trouble for breaking them. This is usually because Maybelle is trying to get some food that looks particularly delicious.

If the Peabodys see Maybelle, it will mean trouble for her and for Henry. The Peabodys don’t kid around about insisting that there must be “absolutely, positively NO BUGS” at the house. If the Peabodys think that there might be a bug in the house, they call the Bug Man—the Exterminator. And that means that Maybelle and Henry have to find a way to avoid an Extermination Event.

The results are hilarious and keep kids begging for “just one more chapter.”

Maybelle has starred in four books so far: Maybelle in the Soup, Maybelle Goes to Tea, Maybelle and the Haunted Cupcake, and Maybelle Goes to School.

Maybelle Goes to TeaMaybelle and the Haunted CupcakeMaybelle Goes to School

The books are well-written, short chapter books that are enticing for young readers. They are approximately 60 pages long, and the chapters are short—typically four or five pages long. The illustrations are black and white and are on almost every page. They are paired well with the text.

Maybelle’s adventures are written by Katie Speck. Ms. Speck’s website is

According to Ms. Speck’s website, the idea for Maybelle came from her grandmother, who called all of the cockroaches they came across “Maybelle” and made up funny stories about them. I’m glad Ms. Speck’s grandmother had such an imaginative way to deal with their cockroach troubles, and shared her stories with Ms. Speck!

Ms. Speck has provided teacher’s guides for Maybelle in the Soup and Maybelle Goes to Tea on her website. She has also shared some “Deliciously Yucky Recipes,” including “Fleas on a Dog” and “Earwax Snacks.”

Maybelle’s books have been a huge hit in our household. I hope we will see many more Maybelle books in the coming years! She is the only cockroach I welcome in our house (I have to admit—I am a lot like Mrs. Peabody when it comes to bugs in the house . . . ).

Have you read any great books lately?

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