A young boy realizes his first impression of a bug is wrong in this lesson about understanding others.
Fred, a brown-skinned boy with curly hair, is startled when a talking bug lands on his rug. After attacking the intruder with a water blaster, a shoe, and a Halloween costume, Fred slows down long enough to listen to the insect’s plea: “Please, hear the things I have to say. / I’m NOT SO UGLY, you will find. / I’ll prove to you I’m beautiful! / Just listen with an open mind.” The creature encourages Fred to examine him through a magnifying glass, getting a close view of his amazing attributes, including the intriguing features on his back, his cool legs, and his tissue-thin wings. As it turns out, the bug only came into Fred’s room to hide from the rain; after the boy agrees to take the insect outside, he invites his new friend, named Buddy, back for another visit. While Winfield’s (Milly’s Magical View, 2017) smoothly rhyming stanzas introduce an appreciation for insect life, the images by debut illustrators Roberts and Heckenkamp are so cartoonish that the title character bears no resemblance to the actual creature, the leaf-footed bug, featured in photographs here (particularly when Buddy’s family, including a pregnant mother, is depicted in humanized form). But Winfield’s astute poetry can be read as a larger metaphor—accepting others who, at first glance, appear scary because they are different.
A clever story about a child, an insect, and a friendship accompanied by uninspired pictures.