The Grouchy Ladybug

August 17, 2008 at 2:24 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | 1 Comment
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The Grouchy Ladybug written and illustrated by Eric Carle

This is a really cute book that speaks not only to bullies, but to tantrums as well. The grouchy ladybug comes upon a leaf full of aphids that are already being eaten upon by a lady bug in a much better mood. Instead of being pleasant and sharing the leaf with the other ladybug, the grouchy ladybug wants to fight for it. When the happy ladybug unexpectedly agrees to the fight, the grouchy ladybug hedges and indicates that the other wasn’t big enough to bother. Thus begins a trek to find another insect, animal, or mammal big enough to fight (i.e. that is intimidated).

While it’s obvious that the moral of this story is that bullies expect their targets to back down. When the bully doesn’t get the desired reaction, he or she will move on until it’s found. As the mother of a child who used to throw marathon tantrums, I have to laugh at this grouchy little ladybug. My Ally was that grouchy little toddler who just wouldn’t give up when her parents didn’t capitulate to her tantrums. Often, it took her 30 or 40 minutes until she found the whale who batted her back to the leaf where she started. She has much better control over her emotions and I had almost forgot about those days until I read about that wonderful, grouchy ladybug.

This really is a delightful book with illustrations that live up to what one expects from Eric Carle. This book can encourage little children to be nice and stand up to those who are not. It also can encourage parents of those future grouchy little ladybugs. Eventually he or she will find the whale. Just hang on for the hug that’s always there for you at the end.

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To buy this book, click here.

The Mixed-Up Chameleon

August 2, 2008 at 4:04 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | 2 Comments
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The Mixed-Up Chameleon written and illustrated by Eric Carle

This picture book tells the story of a chameleon who is no longer satisfied with himself when he ventures into a zoo and sees all of the other wonderful animals. After trying out parts of each animal, he discovers that he is happiest just being himself. The Mixed-Up Chameleon is a wonderful book that teaches children both about chameleons and about learning to love themselves for who they are. That lesson, when done well, cannot be over taught.

My daughters received this book as a gift from a dear friend. Because of Eric Carle’s beautiful artistry, The Mixed-Up Chameleon is as fun to look at as it is to read. It’s also a nice change of pace that it isn’t geared toward girls alone. I would highly recommend this book as a gift for any young child. It’s sure to be treasured.

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To buy this book, click here.

Olivia Forms a Band

August 1, 2008 at 2:52 am | Posted in children's books, picture book | Leave a comment
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Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer

Olivia, a precocious little pig, decides to form her own band when she learns that there won’t be one at the fireworks display her family will be attending.  Along the way, she does typical young child things like bribe her siblings for items she needs for the band and complains that in a drawer full of identical red socks that she cannot find the match to the one she’s currently wearing.  The punch line to the story, of course, is that once she’s formed her one pig band that she loses interest before making it to the fireworks display.

I’ve been curious about Olivia since I first learned about her a couple of years ago.  I’ve always meant to rent these books from the library but never had a chance.  When I found this copy for $1.50 at the local Food Lion, i couldn’t pass it up.  Now that I’ve read it, I can’t say that I completely understand the appeal.  Sure, from a parent’s perspective it could be funny to see some of these typically erratic childhood behaviors, but I found this story disjointed.  There was no continuity.  While I don’t expect that out of my children, I do expect it out of the books I read.  Allison has asked me to read it twice, but she only seems to be interested in the pictures of the fireworks (which are nice).  Perhaps this will be more meaningful to the girls when they’re old enough to read and better comprehend Olivia.

As for me, I just don’t get it.

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To buy this book, click here.

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