A veritable swarm of adjectives, opposites and, ew, bugs.
The author/illustrator duo behind Cars Galore (2011) turns its attention to creepy-crawly, multi-legged friends. With a jaunty lilt and playful exaggeration, the rhythmic text contains plenty of fun: “Spider creeping … / scary. Gross. / Lurking … leaping! / Don’t get close!” Bees, lice, beetles and bedbugs all get their due; even that weird, unidentifiable bug (“Hairy, scary— / what was THAT bug?”) has a turn to shine. Staake’s familiar, rotund characters are surrounded by bugs of all colors, shapes, patterns and sizes. The frenetic insect-and-arachnid infestation sometimes overwhelms the design, but it pairs well with the jumbling, tumbling bounce of the text. Besides seeking out individual critters described on each page, readers will have no shortage of other creepy-crawlies to find and examine. (The extras are a peak into Staake’s imagination—checkered thoraxes, striped, pointed noses, and oh, so many legs.) Stein ends the menagerie on a contemplative note: “Bug, so secret / are you wise? / Gazing out through / all those eyes? / What exactly / do you see? / I see you … // Do you see me?” Wistful, yet not likely to prevent the next squish.
Squirmy and educational. (Picture book. 3-6)