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Are You A Ladybug? (Avenues) (Backyard Books) Paperback – May 16, 2003
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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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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.