A stick insect’s camouflage makes it hard for her to find friends—or, really, for them to find her.
A variety of students arrive at Bug School for classes with Miss Orb, but not one notices Heidi, who is brown and thin, exactly like a twig or the class hat stand, which Miss Orb mistakes her for when she hangs up her weaving. Heidi’s camouflage is so good, in fact, that she’s unseen through the class counting lesson, lunch, and recess. Readers will empathize with her, her crossed arms (all four of them), hunched shoulders, and drooped face expressing her emotion clearly (if they can spy her!). It’s not until Miss Orb teaches weaving and Scarlett, a ladybug, goes searching for interesting items to add to her project that Heidi (mistaken for a twig) is finally discovered. Miss Orb has the perfect welcoming activity: weaving a colorful scarf for Heidi so she’s not so hidden. It’s just the ticket for helping her feel part of the group. Readers may note that games with her new friends seem to emphasize what tall and slender Heidi can do for them (reach things, be a bridge, etc.) rather than what she wants to do…except when it comes to playing hide-and-seek. Parker’s watercolor, colored pencil, artline pens, and digital compositions are quite delicate and detailed, her bug school delightfully analogous to children’s own.
A lesson in camouflage and in welcoming new friends. (Picture book. 4-8)