Bugs

Authored by Patricia Hegarty
Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
Published by Little Tiger

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Bugs is the fifth in this series of books from Little Tiger written in rhyming text by Patricia Hegarty and beautifully illustrated colour by Britta Teckentrup. Just as each double page spread is connected by the simple but clever cut outs, so are each of the books in this series as they each explore the varied aspects of the natural world: Tree (2015); Bee (2017); Moon (2018); Sea (2018) and now Bugs. It’s a collection I covet to own! The preceding four books have all been produced in hardback, paperback and board books format as these books will appeal and interest children from very early years to bring nature to life and to introduce concepts of time changing through seasons, with a rhythmic prose that carries you through the seasons. For older children, Y2 and beyond, this is a call to be creative with cut outs, use of colour, collage and linking one image to the next. It could be a simple card or a more adventurous book on a similar or completely new theme.

Let’s look at how the cut outs are the standout of this book. The premise of the book is a simple one that is so effective: each double spread invites you to peep through the holes and look into the world of insects going about their business around the tree that is the focal point of each spread. The leaves on the tree are the cut outs, starting with just two, as it’s the beginning of spring and nature is just waking up, building up, as we go through the seasons, to twelve leaves of varied sizes, at the height of summer. The clever use of colour changing to reflect the seasons means that even though each double page is the same tree, each one looks very different and we meet various bugs that we would expect to see during spring, summer, winter and autumn. I particularly love how Britta Teckentrup uses the colour green throughout as it changes through the full cycle of the seasons and time of day. The lyrical rhyming prose of Patricia Hegarty guides our eyes to find them,

Days grow longer; summer nears,

And now a ladybird appears!

A chrysalis hangs from a tree –

Can you guess what it will be?

This would also be a perfect book to support an early years topic on minibeasts as there is such a wide variety of them who come and go throughout the year on and around the tree: ladybirds, beetles, spiders, moths, bees, caterpillars, snails, ants, dragon flies, butterflies, centipedes, worms, grasshoppers and fireflies. Constant throughout the story is the ladybird, so I think this could also be a great opportunity to be creative and write a story from the ladybird’s point of view and perspective from beginning to end.

In a children’s book publishing world with so many interactive, informative and cross-genre picture books about nature, the seasons and wildlife, the beauty, poetic text and clever cut outs of Bugs makes this an inspiring, standout triumph.

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