``I am NOT a lady and I am NOT a bug.'' Beginning with the malapropos name for the tiny beetle, the Bernhards steer readers into more scientific aspects of the ladybug's anatomy, life cycle and eating habits. The straightforward text supports saturated, well-labeled watercolor illustrations that fill the page in close perspective--from a bug's-eye view, tiny white eggs sit like boulders on the vast terrain of a leaf. A pale, ugly larva turns black and bristly, then sheds its skin to reveal a new orange pupa that in turn hardens into a case. Out of sight, the wormlike infant evolves into an adult beetle that crawls out one week later. Although this extraordinary metamorphosis rivals the majestic butterfly's, illustrations and text convey facts more than wonder. Still, readers will enjoy comparing patterns of common types of ladybugs and counting their black spots. Except for a diversion into ladybug lore too brief to be meaningful (but prolonged enough to distract the reader), the book maintains its scientific focus. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- A bold, graphic cover and large, clearly labeled paintings on crisp white pages give a clean, inviting look to this short, informational piece. Brief text beneath each illustration succinctly describes the life cycle of the ladybug, adding some interesting facts about its agricultural use, bits of folklore, and history. A tiny ladybug crawls along an unobtrusive colored dotted line that winds through the pages and around each flat, folk - art painting. Terms in the text and labels from the illustrations are defined in a glossary. Watts's Ladybug (Silver Burdett, 1989), with its excellent full-color photos and simple text, is geared to the same age group. Fischer-Nagel's Life of the Ladybug (Carolrhoda, 1986) is a more thorough presentation for an older audience; Johnson's Ladybugs (Lerner, 1983) contains the most thorough information and pictorial representation of the text (i.e., closeups of the ladybug's body parts; stages of the life cycle) as well as a glossary and index. Bernhard's attractively illustrated title will be useful for story hours and brief reports. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Janice Del Negro
In an excellent nonfiction title for primary-graders, the Bernhards succeed in combining scientific fact with descriptive, appealing paintings to introduce and explore the life cycle of the ladybug. Large type and an uncluttered design add to the elements that make the book a winner. Connected by a single ladybug marching through the pages, each colorful picture complements the interesting, simply written text. Diagrams are clearly labeled and easy to understand, especially when combined with a narrative that leads the reader through the ladybug's life cycle at an almost jaunty pace. After introducing some ladybug history and folklore (including the origin of the rhyme "Ladybug, ladybug fly away home"), the Bernhards conclude with how "lucky ladybugs" help farmers today by ridding crops of unwanted pests. A glossary is included.