PreS-Gr 2-An ugly bug wonders why her three friends look different from her and they explain that their appearances help them to hide from hungry predators. She tries to disguise herself to look like spotty red bug, skinny green bug, and shiny blue bug, but her idea backfires and her new colorful appearance soon catches the attention of a bird. She panics, causing her eyes to grow bigger and the hair on her back to spike up. She is even uglier than before and the bird leaves her alone. However, Mr. Ugly Bug notices her and the two fall in love and have a bunch of babies who are "all even uglier than their parents!" Large, cartoon-style paintings clearly show the different insects and their attributes. Bold colors and an uncluttered layout encourage viewers to focus on the main character, who is charmingly goofy looking. Young children will be smiling as they discover the importance of being one's self. Pair this with one of the many versions of "The Ugly Duckling."-Kathleen Simonetta, Indian Trails Public Library District, Wheeling, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In this notably unsuccessful take on the "I don't want to stand out" theme, a bug-colorful but not particularly ugly in the cartoon illustrations-brushes off her friends' appreciative comments and dresses herself to look like them, but changes her tune after repulsing a predatory bird. Not only is the Lesson sledge-hammered home in the agenda-centered text ("Now I love the way I look!" exclaims the triumphant bug, before going off to mate with a dazzled suitor), but Pichon, along with adding inane comments in dialogue balloons, plasters several pictures with descriptive labels for viewers who have somehow missed the idea that the bug is supposed to be hideous. A similar premise gets more effective treatment in Andrew Clements's Big Al (1988), illustrated by Yoshi, and, more recently, in Graeme Base's Jungle Drums (2004). (Picture book. 6-8)