The smallest bug’s contribution to the demands of the grasshopper king is at first spurned, but the little bug eventually prevails in more ways than one.
The initial double-page spread consists of a bright yellow wash of sky, translucent layers of green plants, and a foreground of brown dirt dappled with sunlight. On the left, atop a single small stone, sits a green-and-orange grasshopper, his head topped by a crown. In bold, capital letters, he commands a cluster of bug subjects: “BRING ME A ROCK!” The grasshopper soon makes it clear that he “will have a majestic pedestal fit for a king.” The king shows his sense of entitlement as each peon bug struggles to add a rock to the pile being created for his majesty. Each insect is rendered with an eye for varietal accuracy, yet each also sports a delightful spark of anthropomorphism. Humor and artistry combine, especially in an aerial view of the king atop his new throne, sipping a paper-umbrella–adorned drink—before his tower begins to topple. After the littlest bug manages to save the king with a pebble, the king asks how he can repay this now-invaluable subject. The little bug’s cleverness literally elevates the status of all the workers to that of the king.
Beautifully executed art, expressive bugs, and spare but pointed—arguably Marxist—text create a tale for all ages. (Picture book. 3-8)