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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yoo-Hoo, Lady Bug! Written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Laura Ljungkvist. Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. 2013. $18.99 ages 3 and up

"There you are...

stuck on the stairs
with a couple of bears.

Where are you?"

One of the things I love best about sharing Mem' Fox's brilliant books with early readers is that there is no 'sameness' to them. That being said, they are the same in many ways...thoughtful, expressive, fun, perfect in every way for young children just embarking on the road to being independent readers. Using her books in the early grades to talk about the strategies that authors and illustrators use to teach us about writing was a successful and most enjoyable endeavor; rarely are the illustrators done by the same artist. So, while Mem taught careful lessons about choosing the perfect word, using rhyme and rhythm to capture attention and to engage her young readers, the talented illustrators who created the visual story had very different lessons to teach about color, space, detail and line.

I was full of anticipation for this new book when I learned that Laura Ljungkvist was chosen to help bring Mem's game of hide-and-seek to little ones. She is the creative genius who gave us the Follow the Line series of books.

Take a careful look at the image-filled cover before you even open the book. It abounds with familiar images designed to capture interest and get young readers talking about what they see. A peek-a-boo circle shows a smiling ladybug preparing for the game to come. Open the first page to learn something important about that ladybug...she loves to hide.

The game is on! A voice calls for her to show herself and another turn of the page reveals a water-filled bathtub and an assortment of familiar objects, only one helping to hide her from view. Each new answer is revealed with a close-up circle to bring attention to her hiding spot. Then, we are on to the next part of the game.

Bold colors, numerous patterns and an astounding collection of shapes is meant to distract the reader from finding that little lady, while also encouraging keen observation. Repetitive phrasing and a jaunty rhyming text will help those who share this book to find success in their search. But, don't turn the page too quickly!

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