TWO LITTLE BUGS
by Mark and Rowan Sommerset - Dreamboat Books
ages baby to grown-up / funny
Ever had one of those days (or weeks) when it feels like you just can’t… ? Little Bug Blue is a bit like that.
Ever had one of those days (or weeks) when it feels like everything is going great and you’re pretty sure you can become even better…? Little Bug Red is a bit like that.
These two Little Bugs share the same leaf and they both try to persuade the other to come around to their way of seeing the world. (Ever had a time like that?)
Of course, Little Bug Red, who sees the sunshine and wants Little Blue Bug to join in the delight, is the one we cheer for – but sometimes we can act more like Little Bug Blue who lives on the underside of the leaf and sees only darkness.
This is a charmer of a book – Mark and Rowan Sommerset make a brilliant team and the design and illustrations are just as vital to the story as the words. The design includes cut out pages and flaps to lift as well as expressive little bugs – making the book appealing to little eyes, ears and hands even before they can really take in all the words.
As little ones grow and begin to understand the words they’ll be able to ‘help’ you read the book since there is rhyme in every stanza. Aside from making it easy to read aloud, and carry off a lyrical jilt as you do, rhyme like this is also super good for pre-literate children as it allows them to anticipate and remember text. Anticipating text is one of the many skills that need to be developed for fluent literacy.
There’s more—I love this book because it speaks to everyone, young or old, happy or sad, fearful or brave, beginning or ending a journey. Just a few of the themes that are available in Two Little Bugs are:
Empathy - Little Blue Bug tries so hard to help Little Red Bug understand what is going on under the leaf.
Noticing the skills and talents we do have - Little Bug Blue felt stuck under the leaf but already had wings and could have simply flown away.
The value of being persistent in establishing friendships - Little Bug Red kept trying even in the face of Little Blue Bug’s constant rejections.
Being kind is not contingent on another’s actions - When Little Bug Blue was fearful and so refused any help but Little Bug Red keeps being kind and offering to share the goodness on the top side of the leaf.
The idea that much of the way we construct the world is due to our own limited perspective - Little Bug Red is able to see the sun simply due to sitting on top of the leaf – a good reminder that when blessed with good fortune (like being on top of the leaf) we need to welcome and consider others in their own situations.
The value of optimism and work - I’m not entirely sure that you could call all that eating that Little Bug Red does work – but by eating through the whole of the leaf and leaving Little Bug Blue with just a stalk to hang on to, a whole world opens up to Little Bug Blue and Little Bug Red is able to transform in to a flying bug (a butterfly I suppose).
Aside from all of that, this is just a fun book to read and touch. And you have to appreciate authors who can write a totally un-gendered book without making it seem laboured; Mark and Rowan Sommerset are terrific at this.