A ladybug family helps extraterrestrials deliver lifesaving cures to dying kids in this sequel.
In their previous escapade, the Bopper family of ladybugs—Papa Trey, Mama Shelly, and offspring Tribeetleye, Antenny, and Leggy—worked together to fend off an aphid invasion from their citrus-tree home in Missionville, Texas. As the five are celebrating their victory, a spacecraft lands nearby holding aliens from the planet Infinite in the Andromeda galaxy. They’re human-sized, mushroom-shaped, and pearl-colored, and have come to Earth on a peaceful mission. As Capt. Mushroomy explains, the Boppers have demonstrated qualities that make them ideal for a crucial mission: carry the cures for a fatal virus to a children’s hospital and prevent an epidemic. (Humans are too visible and can’t fly.) The Boppers accept the challenge; the cure-equipped microchips are implanted on their abdomens; and the ladybugs (hidden in a peace lily) are delivered to the hospital. One by one, the Boppers allow human ally Dr. Peter Optimum to remove each dose and treat the kids—but then other forces, including a greedy pharmaceutical company and a foreign government (“Crussia”), try to get the cures for themselves. But with some teamwork, alien tech, optimism, and a little song and dance to keep everyone’s spirits up, the good guys have a great chance to triumph. Treviño (Ladybugs on a Mission, 2013) puts together an unusual mix of sci-fi, humor, adventure, and inspiration in her amusing children’s book. Besides that, the story frequently breaks into song, or even tap-dancing musical numbers. The lyrics are generally adapted from existing songs; for example, to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine”: “You are our lighthouse, our only lighthouse. / You make us happy when you show hope.” The novel is gently didactic, promoting virtues like trust, optimism, generosity, courage, and disability inclusiveness. The children’s diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds are treated with interest and respect. While the need for ladybugs to deliver the cures never really makes sense, readers probably won’t mind.
A children’s tale full of loopy, good-hearted energy—a fun read.