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BRIGHT BEETLE by Rick Chrustowski


by Rick Chrustowski & illustrated by Rick Chrustowski

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6058-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

It's super beetle! The life cycle of the ladybug is presented with splashy colored pencil illustrations, which leap off the page. The illustrator heightens the visual contrast by putting the red and black beetle on a bright yellow flower petal and placing the orange and purple larva against a broad green leaf. This dramatic telling, a first picture book by the author/illustrator, will appeal to the lovers of the animated movies Antz and Bug Story as it describes the battle of the bugs, and shows them up close and huge. When the story begins, the coffeecupsized ladybug, is resting on the petal of a black eyed Susan. The ricesized eggs she lays on a leaf hatch into wriggling larva, which scurry away leaving just the one who is the main character. She soon sets to lunch on aphids the size of golf balls. After eating fifteen aphids, the larva splits her skin and emerges as a fierce purpleandorange predator, ready for more meals. Life is not all lunch, however, the larva must escape the menacing ants, and later, the fully developed ladybug, must outwit an inquisitive praying mantis. The author follows the development of the ladybug from egg to adult through brief, but exciting and detailed text. For example, the ladybug secretes a bitter orange fluid from out of her legs to deter the praying mantis. `The praying mantis gets a drop of it in his mouth and is so shocked by the awful taste that he drops his prey immediately.` At last, as winter approaches, the ladybug, finds a hole in a log, a safe place to wait out the winter. The author concludes with more facts about ladybugs. An appealing introduction to a familiar and useful insect made especially suitable for reading aloud because of the accessible text and bright, dramatic illustrations. (Nonfiction 59)