Friday, April 29, 2016
Stories from Bug Garden, written by Lisa Moser and illustrated by Gwen Millward. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2016. $22.00 ages 5 and up
duck, duck, goose.
He never, ever won at
but he was the all-time champion of
In a garden that seems to have been abandoned, we meet a playful group of small critters. Each one has their own story, set within and alongside light and airy illustrations. They are those creatures you would be most likely to see in a garden habitat, and little ones will love to hear what they do with their time. In fact, they might find the creatures trying to do what children themselves like to try.
For instance, the first bug we meet is the ladybug. It turns out that she doesn't really enjoy ladylike pursuits; she would rather be barefoot, make angels in the mud, and try using a blade of grass as a whistle. What kids don't like to do those things?
As we stroll, we come upon horsefly and butterfly, dragonfly, bee, roly-poly, ants both big and small, cricket, earthworm, snail, and lightning bug. Each plays a role in the garden while enjoying its beauty and the fun times to be had with the garden's many other inhabitants. Gwen Millward uses ink, pencil and watercolor to fill the verdant garden with cheery details. They provide for interested attention in the little ones who will pore over the humorous spreads.
This book is a great deal of fun to read aloud, at a time in the year when we are all patiently awaiting the warmth that will allow planting a brand new bunch of seeds, and time to wait for new plants to poke out of the ground and provide a home for the host of creatures mentioned in these dialogue-rich, poetic short stories.
"Bee sat on a lilac branch
and watched the clouds.
"Shouldn't you fly around?" asked Dragonfly.
"Shouldn't you sip nectar from flowers?" asked Lightning Bug.
"Shouldn't you make honey?" asked Horsefly.
"I don't want to do any of those things," said Bee.
"What do you want to do then?"
Bee settled back to watch the clouds.
"Just be," said Bee."