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BUGTOWN BOOGIE by Warren Hanson


by Warren Hanson & illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-059937-9
Publisher: Laura Geringer/HarperCollins

A boy walking home at dusk narrates his fantastic woodland discovery: a diminutive but raucous party in a tree trunk. The revelers? Bugs of every description, many playing tiny guitars, fiddles and drums. Hanson’s syncopated verse scans handily, making this a swell read-aloud for intrepid parents, teachers and librarians. “Every kind of bug was there, a-rockin’ to the rhythm. / The Katydids had come and brought the Katykids in with ‘em. / The Mayfly was a waltzin’ with her little Junebug brother, / As the Caterpillars did the twist, ticklin’ each other!” The accomplished Johnson and Fancher take the fantasy several twists further, with mixed-media pictures teeming with strange critters that only occasionally correspond with entomological reality. The illustrations couple painterly techniques with textural, post-industrial collage elements, resulting in full-bleed spreads that are often amusing and occasionally creepy. In the illustration accompanying the quoted text, for example, two bloated, enmeshed caterpillars freakishly dominate the picture plane. Still, Hanson’s cheerful cadences and imaginatively embellished refrains carry the day, and Fancher’s typography is handsome and effective. (Picture book. 4-8)