Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Grouchy Ladybug

Author/Illustrator: Eric Carle
Age group: All ages

This review is by Kodi's Mom.
Hello, Saffron Tree :) It has been a while since I posted a review here and the reasons for that were many. For one thing, my son went into a I-don't-want-anything- to-do-with-books phase for several months. Thankfully, he snapped out of it as suddenly as he went into it, so we're back to reading and visiting the library, and I am back to reviewing :)

Credit: PictureBookArt

It is hard to read an Eric Carle book and not rave about it! I was looking for The Mixed Up Chameleon that utbt just reviewed, and I found The Grouchy Ladybug. I have brought this book home before and it didn't create much of an impression with my then 1.5 yo. This time was different though. He has been fascinated with ladybugs for a few months now, and the picture of the ladybug on the front cover had him begging me to read. In the first reading, he discovered that you don't judge a book by its cover; that there might be a lot more surprises than you expected!

The basic premise in The Grouchy Ladybug is there are two ladybugs - a friendly one and a grouchy one. The friendly ladybug (FL) wants to share aphids on a leaf, while the grouchy ladybug (GL) wants to fight instead. But once FL agrees to fight, GL, like a typical bully, backs off. The excuse? "Oh, you're too small for me"!! The friendly (and smart!) one challenges him to go find someone his size.

And thus the day starts for GL. Every hour, he runs into insects, birds, animals, in increasing order of size. GL challenges each one to a fight, but when the other party agrees, GL flees with the usual excuse - "you're too small" - only to find someone larger. It gets particularly funny when GL encounters a blue whale - the largest known animal. Where GL is but a dot on the page, a third of the whale's body occupies the entire spread. Yet tiny GL declares to the humungous whale - "You're too small for me."

How the whale teaches GL a wordless lesson is the rest of the story. The morals, of course, are plenty, depending on the age of the kid. Learn to share! Don't be a bully! Be humble - there are things larger and stronger than you!

The neat thing about Eric Carle books is how these strong morals come packaged with several toddler-sized concepts. If the book is a hit, you'll most likely be reading it over and over and over. But that's okay (for the parent) because with each read there's something new to focus on!

Apart from vivid colors that are characteristic of Eric Carle illustrations, this book features an assortment of atypical insects, a bird and animals. You don't encounter a stag beetle and a boa constrictor too often! Each insect/animal responds to GL's challenge with its characteristic trait. The rhino lowers its horn, the elephant extends its trunk and shows off its strong tusks. As each animal is introduced, the size of the page increases in proportion to that of the animal. Presented this way, it is very easy to visually compare how much bigger an elephant is, to say, a bumblebee. As if all that weren't enough, there is even an analog clock on every page that shows the time of day. Older kids can track the time throughout the book.

With so many delightful elements to focus on, and with 7 reads in 4 hours, we have only just started exploring The Grouchy Ladybug!!


Tharini said...

Wow! Sounds very interesting. Imagine a clock too. Winkie might like this!

Tharini said...

Welcome back btw! And fingers crossed that Kodi's reading trend continues.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Wil definitely pick it up on the next library trip.

Meera said...

If there is an Eric Carle book in the bookstores, without even looking I buy it for my daughter. I think with pictures and apt words, he does an amazing job. Thanks for your review

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