Even the dedication rhymes in this strikingly illustrated picture book. The illustrations are gorgeous images with simple shapes which would appeal to really young readers. Pictures are often spread over double pages for extra impact. They’re large and playful and have a charming simplicity. The little bug leaves a trail which you can follow with you finger as he flies around agitating the bear. My favourite is a group picture of all the animals – the expressions just in their eyes say it all.
The story starts with a little bug who lands on a bear and announces he has chosen him for his ‘lodgings’. The rhyme all the way through helps the story along and obviously means it would be a great ‘out loud’ or ‘read along’ book with your own little ones or whole class or school. It would be rather a good subject for an assembly as the little bug really wants to be friends but the clue is in his name – he ends up bugging the bear and it doesn’t get any better throughout the story. This is a little surprising as usually you might think the bug and the bear would form a partnership in the end but it’s not quite like that. In this way I think it’s a good basis for discussion as it offers a different look at how we get on with each other in the world and how maybe we need to explore something in a different way as sometimes the person you really want to be friends with just doesn’t want to be friends with you.
The bear gets more and more grumpy and agitated and uses, at one point the great word ‘Kerfuffle’ which has only minimal options for rhyming but nonetheless they work perfectly in this book!
In the end the wise old owl comes to the rescue and is able to suggest a different friend for the bug so there is a resolution-phew-and the bear finally finds some peace.
This is a jolly read which could also resonate with our own bug bears and how to solve them. One quibble: the font in the book does match the pictures well but has capital letters interspersed with small. I know this is great for the look but, as I often have to read writing in school that has capitals interspersed and try to help change that habit, I start twitching a bit when I see this very thing in print but that is just a personal bug bear of mine and shouldn’t affect enjoyment of this book.