Each of over 25 different “bugs” receives its own short, titled, whimsical poem, an accompanying collage, and a few sentences of factual information.
Almost every insect or arachnid commonly known to most Americans is included in this lighthearted treasury. Each poem highlights some aspect of its subject, whether its appearance, its behavior, or, as in the cockroach, its reputation: “I am not loved, not loved at all. / I’m not like any other. / But surely someone cares for me. / I think it is my MOTHER.” Although facts about the cockroach accompanying the poem and in the endnotes give some reasons to like the creature, it is odd that, after mentioning its association with “poor housekeeping,” there is no mention of the bug’s actually obsessive cleanliness. In general, the poems are clever and humorous, and most of the rhythmic ones scan well. Some use elementary wordplay in the titles, as in “Par-tick-u-lar-ly Awesome” and “Mite-y Nice Advice.” The fly poem is no match for the one by Ogden Nash, but “Grasshopper Green” rivals limericks by Edward Lear. Sweet’s dependably eye-catching illustrations—infused with humor here—are an appropriate match. Care was given to balancing gender among those poems that use pronouns, and there is, incidentally, a note devoted to the fact that female ladybugs are nearly indistinguishable from male ladybugs.
Happy-go-lucky fun with words, collage, and a smattering of facts about bugs. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)