Ladybug Girl—aka Lulu—is so excited about her best friend’s new toy that she temporarily forgets the joys of friendship.
At the end of a double-page spread in which Lulu enthuses to her mother about the amazing things a child can do with Finny’s “Rolly-Roo” toy, this passage ensues: “ ‘I can’t wait to play with it!’ ‘You mean play with Finny, right?’ says Mama. ‘Yes, of course that’s what I mean,’ Lulu mumbles.” Here, Mama’s expression is deflated, while Lulu has a wary sideways glance. Similar challenges to the text from the illustrations occur throughout and provide the youngest readers a chance to give a giggle and a knowing nod. As expected, Lulu pays much more attention to the Rolly-Roo than to her best friend, and then an age-appropriate crisis occurs. The obvious lesson becomes fun when Finny as Grasshopper Girl and Lulu as Ladybug Girl eventually use their expertise to fix the problem, then use their imaginations to have a rollicking good time together. The artwork contains ethnic diversity, active girls, an endearing basset hound, and plenty of eye-catching indoor and outdoor backgrounds. The text is large, bold, and easy to read. The language has been carefully crafted so that most of the conversations provide models for children just beginning to navigate the sticky wicket of socializing.
Ladybug Girl fans will find this offering satisfying, and its gentle didacticism goes down easy. (Picture book. 3-6)