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THE LITTLE BUGGERS by J. Patrick Lewis

THE LITTLE BUGGERS

Insect and Spider Poems

By J. Patrick Lewis (Author) , Victoria Chess (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8037-1769-5
Publisher: Dial

Aimed at a younger audience than its wittier, more sophisticated cousin, Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise (1989), this collection of poems celebrates bugs. Lewis (The La-Di-Da Hare, 1997, etc.) has keen antennae for wordplay, seeking ways to exploit types of insects by making their attributes humorous. One poem features a praying mantis who kissed her mate on the first date, “then ate the pesky fellow.” Another zooms in on the vexing reputation of the housefly. Relationships to humans, referred to as “Them” in a silly poem about silverfish, fall under scrutiny; a plug for reading sneaks past in a poem about book mites; a cockroach announces that it was born “outside a place called Blueberry Muffin Mix.” Other snappy subjects include a streetlight where all the buggy locals hang out, and the myriad names for butterflies. While couple of poems feel forced--“The Doodlebug Song” strains for comedy while “The Ladybug” labors under its staccato rhythm--most are as short and rapid as insect chatter, as in the quip between “The Stinkbug and the Cricket.” Chess’s insect personifications are suitably wacky, exaggerating the insects’ large mouths and eyes and tiny feet. The title of each poem twists across the page, adding extra zip to the critters we so often zap. (Poetry. 5-8)