The ladybug returns to foil another barnyard theft (What the Ladybug Heard, 2010).
Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len (white and brown-skinned respectively, with names that indicate body type) are fresh out of jail and up to their old tricks. Not content simply to steal delicious speckled eggs, the thieves scheme to steal the farm’s fat red hen. Luckily, Donaldson’s ladybug is on the case, and so are the farm’s cow, hog, cat, duck, and other residents. The author employs rhyming couplets to weave her cat-and-mouse, or shall we say thief-and-ladybug, game. Monk returns to illustrate the barnyard, employing googly eyes, bright colors, and crisp compositions. Incorporated elements of photo collage (the hoods’ knitwear, the sheep’s fleece, and selective other fabric highlights) add visual interest to the bright, matte paintings. The silly scheming tone will have little readers giggling with glee. While the book contains larcenous villains, the tale is light and fluffy, flitting here and there and making Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len as threatening as jelly doughnuts. Nevertheless, the choice to cast a fat person and a brown-skinned person as the villains while the kindly farmer is a thin, white man sours the taste somewhat.
A whimsical sequel. (Picture book. 3-6)