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Are You a Ladybug? (Backyard Books) Paperback – May 16, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-Short sentences in large print are juxtaposed against colorful, close-up, watercolor-and-pencil illustrations. Each accessible book begins with its title question and tells readers how they would experience life as that creature, keeping the familiar form of address throughout, e.g., "If you are [a ladybug], your parents look like this, and they eat-." The books briefly describe their subjects' birth, growth and development, a few outstanding physical and behavioral characteristics, diet, habitat, and natural enemies. The narratives then segue into a reality check, stating, "However, if your parents look a little like this-You are-a human child." Each title ends with a list of miscellaneous facts about the invertebrate discussed. While the texts are simply and clearly written, there are a couple of minor flaws. Ladybug fails to define the word aphid, although the soft-bodied insect is referred to several times, and Snail defines poison as "poisonous." Joanne Ryder's beautifully illustrated, lyrical The Snail's Spell (Puffin, 1988) serves as an excellent introduction for preschoolers, but Allen's titles will attract young nature lovers.
Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

“Are you a ladybug? If you are, your parents look like this, and they eat aphids.” So begins a charming little book from the Backyard Books series (Are You a Snail?, not reviewed) that documents the amazing life cycle of the common ladybug. Throughout, Humphries engages the viewer's imagination with clear, close-up illustrations, done in soft watercolors, of beetles from egg to adult. The text invites the listener to be part of the story, growing inside an egg, hatching as a strange larva, resting in the hard, shell-like pupa, and finally emerging complete with wings, spots, and a bright red coat. “Congratulations, you're a ladybug.” With tongue in cheek, the author explains that if your parents look like humans, you are not a ladybug, “You are a human child.” And advises, “Your skin will not split as you grow. You can't fly. It is very unlikely that you are red with black dots.” The author concludes with facts about ladybugs; for example, “a ladybug can eat about 70 aphids a day.” The titles in this series have shiny board covers, glossy paper, a modest price, small size and a great deal of appeal. For reading aloud or reading alone, preschool and early childhood children will find these young information books delightful. (Nonfiction. 4-8) -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Series: Backyard Books
  • Paperback: 31 pages
  • Publisher: Kingfisher; 1 edition (May 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753456036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753456033
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Judy Allen is an award-winning author whose novel Awaiting Developments won the Whitbread Children's Novel Award. Judy Allen and illustrator Tudor Humphries created Kingfisher's award-winning Backyard Books series and many other successful books, including the Reading Rainbow selections Tiger and Seal.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was thrilled when I found this book! It is so difficult to teach children that metamorphosis doesn't just mean when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly - that it happens to all insects. Observing the metamorphosis of more than one animal is the key. This book is simply splendid alongside the Ladybug Land product from Highlights.com where you purchase a ladybug habitat and larvae and observe the process for yourself. I agree with all the enthusiastic reviews below and rate this book * highly recommended * in terms of accessible fun reading & valuable scientific content.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has it all--engaging, not too complicated text, GREAT illustrations and a lots of good science content. I have a huge collection of pre-school, early elem. books on insects, but none of them cover the type of metamorphosis that the lady beetle goes through, with the larvae looking totally different than the adult, and the pupae looking . . . well not like a butterfly cocoon, that's for sure, just a spotted lump! I was conducting a class for middle school teachers and we found a lady beetle pupa on a leaf and I thought in might be a gall. Luckily my book order for the early elementary class came in and I noticed the picture in the "Are You a Ladybug" book that explained what we had found. That's a pretty good endorsement for a pre-school book, that it can teach a middle school science class new information! Also, this book is very usefull to teach about how insect predators help control pest populations, since the beetles in the book eat aphids and more aphids. Again, this type of information is not often found in pre-school level books. I bought the grasshopper book too, and I like these books so much I am ordering the whole series!
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Format: Hardcover
This book disguises the science, not sugar-coating it, but presenting it in plain kid-speak, inviting them to enter the world of the ladybug in a humourous and engaging way.
Amazon seems to have rated this book at preschool level, but for its hard-core insect trivia, I'd recommend it for any bug-lovers five and up, and their parents who LOVE finding read-aloud books that the whole family can laugh and learn from.
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Format: Paperback
This is a cute, easy to understand and very short guide to information about ladybugs for young children. Each two page spread is wonderfully illustrated (watercolor and pencil, a mellow, natural look) with a few short sentences about the lifecycle of the ladybug from the "mom" laying eggs, through the several metamorphosis that the young larvae go through...acknowledging that young ladybugs look nothing like adults, which is excellent because this entire process can be difficult to explain to young children without them seeing it...and in Are You a Ladybug, it's all drawn out nicely and it's very easy to understand!

Are you a Ladybug presents the physical characteristics and behavior of ladybugs as ell as their diet, habitat and also discusses how animals and birds don't eat them because they taste bad...no reason is given and it's never discussed if they have any natural predators, we were left to find out this information on our own, so that was slightly disappointing.

What's so appealing about Are You a Ladybug is that because of the way it's written, young readers (or listeners, if you use these as read-alouds) are put front and center, they are put in the position of imagining what is going on from hatching and eating their egg, to molting, eating lots and lots of aphids, and then growing their hard shell. This book really engages young minds in a way that is both accurate (scientifically presented) and fun (pretend play/imaginative), with just the right amount of humor to keep it from getting bogged down in facts. I give it four stars, it would have gotten five, but there is no glossary and the author does not define what an aphid is...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am totally "sold" on these books. My grandhildren love the two they have, and I am buying the other three. They are terrific in so many ways. The reader learns something factual, of course, but in the process has a wonderful time imagining being something very different. Readers cannot help learn at least some degree of empathy with all living things; they learn without effort what it is like to be a scientist - that is, that there is a whole life pattern behind any little creature, to be discovered.
It is said that kids who speak two languages in childhood become smarter because of that: I imagine it's because concept (e.g. "table") and a given language's word for it are not fused together, but necessarily separate. I bet these books have a similar effect: they teach a pattern of empathy, and introduce a habit of assuming there is a rich and interesting story behind every little thing. And that there are some constant questions to ask: where do they get their energy (food) and how does their life develop, etc. If I were a cognitive scientist I would want to do research to see if they aren't a new and interesting "genre" of children's book.
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Format: Hardcover
An excellent book that introduces children to the idea of metamorphosis while keeping their attention. Many people do not recognize the immature stage of the ladybug but this book treats it with humor -- when the eggs hatch, "you might think you have all made a big mistake" because of course immatures look nothing like adult ladybird beetles.
A great book for primary school science.
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Are You a Ladybug? (Backyard Books)
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