The Little Buggers: Insect and Spider Poems

The Little Buggers: Insect and Spider Poems

by J. Patrick Lewis, Victoria Chess
     
 

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From yellow jackets to termites, praying mantises to doodlebugs, no little bugger has been overlooked in J. Patrick Lewis's clever collection of verse paired with the outrageous and vibrant art of Victoria Chess. Young readers will squirm with delight at both commonly known insects such as the cricket and the ladybug, and lesser known ones such as the silverfish and… See more details below

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Overview

From yellow jackets to termites, praying mantises to doodlebugs, no little bugger has been overlooked in J. Patrick Lewis's clever collection of verse paired with the outrageous and vibrant art of Victoria Chess. Young readers will squirm with delight at both commonly known insects such as the cricket and the ladybug, and lesser known ones such as the silverfish and stinkbug. All the creatures are presented with descriptions true to their natures but in fun and zany scenarios. J. Patrick Lewis is the author of many highly regarded books of verse for young readers. Of A Hippopotamusn't, a starred Booklist review declared, If wordplay were an Olympic event, Lewis could go for the gold. Victoria Chess's illustrations for Ten Sly Piranhas were praised by The Horn Book as gleefully fiendish.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The nimble duo behind A Hippopotamusn't and Ridicholas Nicholas returns with another hilarious poetry collection. Lewis displays his gift for verbal pyrotechnics as his wandering eye alights on a motley assortment of "little buggers." Grounded in careful observation that ferrets out realistic details of the insect world, his agile verse is both clever and devilishly funny, and it sparkles with descriptive gems (of a damselfly, "her motor hums/ all summer long to bullfrog drums"). Whether poking fun at an insect wedding ("Monarch caterpillar bridesmaids in so many pairs of shoes"), after which the groom mysteriously disappears on the honeymoon ("something always goes awry/ At the Marriage of a Spider to one more Bluebottle Fly!"), or warning those bathroom loiterers, the silverfish, to beware of middle-of-the-night intruders ("They stumble in at 2 a.m.,/ Turn on the light and flush the john..../ And some of them have nothing on!"), Lewis wields his pen with a wink and a nod. Chess, meanwhile, gleefully unleashes a battalion of toothsome bugs with little humanoid faces, all delicately picked out in watercolor and sepia. Among her droll details, her scorpion sports a sombrero and four pairs of cowboy boots; her walking stick has his shoes on backward. Fleas, crickets, butterflies, ants -- the gang's all here. Kids should take to this buzz-worthy book like flies to honey.
School Library Journal
This collection of light verse about insects and spiders ranges from free form to rhyming stanzas. Subjects include a vegetarian spider who passes up a cicada and "The Almost Indestructible Last Housefly of Summer" who "Wipes his feet/On...NutraSweet!/Hear the ZZZZZ/Of housefly buzz?/That is what he is/--or was!" Most are infused with offbeat, slightly macabre humor. Delicate, fiendishly agile illustrations in watercolor and sepia offer a perfect complement to the tone and humor.--Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Aimed at a younger audience than its wittier, more sophisticated cousin, Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise (1989), this collection of poems celebrates bugs. Lewis (The La-Di-Da Hare, 1997, etc.) has keen antennae for wordplay, seeking ways to exploit types of insects by making their attributes humorous. One poem features a praying mantis who kissed her mate on the first date, "then ate the pesky fellow." Another zooms in on the vexing reputation of the housefly. Relationships to humans, referred to as "Them" in a silly poem about silverfish, fall under scrutiny; a plug for reading sneaks past in a poem about book mites; a cockroach announces that it was born "outside a place called Blueberry Muffin Mix." Other snappy subjects include a streetlight where all the buggy locals hang out, and the myriad names for butterflies. While a couple of poems feel forced—"The Doodlebug Song" strains for comedy while "The Ladybug" labors under its staccato rhythm—most are as short and rapid as insect chatter, as in the quip between "The Stinkbug and the Cricket." Chess's insect personifications are suitably wacky, exaggerating the insects' large mouths and eyes and tiny feet. The title of each poem twists across the page, adding extra zip to the critters we so often zap.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803717701
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/01/1998
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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