The Bugliest Bug
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The Bugliest Bug

4.7 4
by Carol Diggory Shields, Scott Nash

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A whirring, zinging, hopping-good show that will have kids itching for more!

All of insect land is abuzz with news of a big contest! The demure Damselfly Dilly - "neither clever nor frilly" - has no thoughts of winning, but she’s curious to find out who will. And what she sees makes her eyes bug out! Glowworms light up the stage, the audience


A whirring, zinging, hopping-good show that will have kids itching for more!

All of insect land is abuzz with news of a big contest! The demure Damselfly Dilly - "neither clever nor frilly" - has no thoughts of winning, but she’s curious to find out who will. And what she sees makes her eyes bug out! Glowworms light up the stage, the audience hums with anticipation, and a panel of judges grins . . . but wait, aren’t those fangs she sees glinting?

The wild and witty team that brought us SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE DINOSAUR STOMP and MARTIAN ROCK is back with an exhilarating invasion of bombardier beetles, squirting stinkbugs, praying mantises, and one plucky little Damselfly who keeps her huge eyes open - and seeing in all directions. Once again, Carol Diggory Shields’s lively verse mixes fun, fancy, and fascinating fact, while Scott Nash’s exuberant artwork virtually flies off the page.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a rollicking, tongue-in-cheek entree to the entomological world, Damselfly Dilly uncovers a plot by a group of sinister spiders who hold a "bugliest bug" contest and secretly plan to consume the credulous contestants. "A ladybug curtsied, tumblebugs flipped, The judges applauded, then licked their lips." The steady beat of the simple and often clever verse swiftly advances the predictable plot. Meanwhile, the almost fluorescent gouache and pencil illustrations put readers at the swamp-level action with close-ups of the pop-eyed cartoon insects, most portrayed with only four legs and comical humanoid expressions. Busy spreads aglow in yellow and orange buzz with animation, as humorous vignettes show each bug earnestly performing its talent (e.g., a trio of click bugs appears to doo-wop). Shields and Nash (previously paired for Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp) end the tale with a hurrah (stink-bug humor included), and readers will be cheered, although not surprised, to learn which bug is ultimately proclaimed "bugliest." Tear-out trading cards feature the book's stars with facts and lighthearted prose: "While most know him as Dung Beetle, Tumblebug prefers to be called the Original Pooper Scooper... (he just built and moved into a cozy ball of manure)." Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Can you please read that book again?" was the response that I received after reading this book to a 5- and a 6-year-old. This is sure to be a favorite for young children. The story is written in lively verse, so that it is easily read and easily understood. Bugs are described and illustrated, so that children can find the clacking beetles, the singing crickets, marching ants, praying mantis, and the twirling swallowtails. This fictional story is about a contest to find the "bugliest bug". So, after the insects all perform on stage Damselfly Dilly realizes the purpose behind the contest because he noticed that the judges weren't insects at all, rather they were spiders waiting to eat all of the six legged creatures. A free set of collectible bug cards is included with the book, and the cards are not only amusing to adults, but they teach the children about different insects. The illustrations are vivid and fascinating. Each of the bugs seems to have its own personality. After reading this book children will be much more informed about the insect world. 2002, Candlewick Press,
— Nicole Peterson
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A book with a kid-pleasing subject. Shields's humorous rhymes are paired with Nash's cartoon illustrations of bugs with pincers, antennae, and horns; spotted bugs; striped bugs; all with huge eyes. These swarms of insects are winging their way to the Bugliest Bug Contest. They are so busy showing off that they fail to notice what young Damselfly Dilly has spotted-the judges have wings tied to their backs. These impostors are arachnids in disguise and have arranged the contest in hopes of snaring a tasty meal. When the curtain drops, it's a web, but the contestants manage to escape via Dilly's stage directions. Each bug uses its strength to fight-the army ants march, the mantises pray, but in the end it's the stink bugs who save the day. And, of course, though Dilly is small and has no special talents to display, her heroic actions have earned her the title of the bugliest bug of them all.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
10.61(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Carol Diggory Shields thinks "insects are awesome! As I studied insects for THE BUGLIEST BUG, I realized that every invention people have come up with, from catapults to jet propulsion, had already been invented and used by bugs for millions of years. And that is why to be ‘bugly’ is the ultimate compliment." Carol Diggory Shields is a children’s librarian and lives in northern California with her family.

Scott Nash is the illustrator of many children's books, including OH, TUCKER! by Steven Kroll and MARTIAN ROCK and SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE DINOSAUR STOMP by Carol Diggory Shields. He lives with his wife on an island off the coast of Maine.

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Bugliest Bug 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why would all manner of bugs hold a talent contest? Why, to see which would be voted the 'bugliest bug,' of course. In Carol Diggory Shields' charming tale, children will hear about click beetles clacking, crickets singing, and ladybugs doing a tumbling routine. Children will love the way each bug shows off doing what it does best. Even a plain little bug, young Damselfly Dilly, participates - and hers proves to be the most important role of all. Because what none of the other bugs notices is that the contest judges are spiders - who invented the contest merely as a way of getting a good night's supper. When Dilly points out that the judges are frauds, the bugs band together. Each bug, the quick-thinking Dilly declares, must do what it does best. And so the 'mantises prayed,' the 'army ants marched,' and 'bombardier beetles took to the skies.' When the malodorous stink bugs join the fray, it will come as no surprise to readers as to who wins the day - and who consequently wins the Bugliest Bug title. The tale is charmingly told in verse form, with bold and inventive illustrations. Written by a children's librarian and illustrated by an artist who lives on Bug Island (true!), The Bugliest Bug is sure to captivate young children. Those who enjoy this book might also enjoy another picture book entitled, Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee - A Bee's Bit of Wisdom, another lively and 'buggy' tale which also promotes the importantance of individual strengths. The Bugliest Bug and Ruby Lee are valuable tools for teaching children to believe in and to use their unique abilities to accomplish great things.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 3 1/2 year old daughter loves to hear the story over and over again. I also decided to read the book to a kindergarten classroom where I am studying to become a teacher. Not only did the kids love the book, they also wanted to hear it over and over! I would recommend this book to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows children how even the smallest [bug] can make a difference by being him or herself. My family saw and heard Scott Nash, the illustrator, read this book on the Ellipse at the White House Easter Egg Roll. He was delightful!! Really friendly to the kids and drawing pictures on the fly (no pun intended!)on a big white pad of paper. We bought the book as soon as we got home. Children and grownups alike will love this book.