What's Your Favorite Bug?: inspiring a love of art and reading

Great art is clear thinking about mixed feelings
— W. H. Auden
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When I think of picture books my thoughts always go to the story, which is funny considering we call them ‘picture’ books. But the artwork has a huge impact on our emotions and impressions when reading a picture book, adding depth and feeling. Talking about the artwork is so useful for developing emotional intelligence as we discuss things like:

-       How do you think a character is feeling?

-       How does this picture/page make you feel? Why?

-       What extra information is added by the pictures that? Does it change the story?

I am sometimes hesitant to discuss the artwork because I feel completely under-qualified to talk about art. Thankfully I recently found What’s Your Favourite Bug? in the library and it has given me a new drive to appreciate and educate myself about art. It’s a book written by Eric Carle (author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and a number of other picture book illustrators. Each artist answers the question What’s Your Favorite Bug? with words and artwork.

Two of my favourites are:

Dragonfly by Beth Krommes (Illustrator of ‘Grandmother Winter’ and others)

“Dragonflies symbolize courage, strength, and happiness. Many are iridescent and colourful, shimmering like jewels in the sunshine. Fierce hunters and fast fliers, they can zoom in any direction, including backwards and sideways. Best of all, dragonflies eat mosquitoes.”

“Dragonflies symbolize courage, strength, and happiness. Many are iridescent and colourful, shimmering like jewels in the sunshine. Fierce hunters and fast fliers, they can zoom in any direction, including backwards and sideways. Best of all, dragonflies eat mosquitoes.”

And Moths by Teagan White (Illustrator of ‘That’s Me Loving You’ and others)

“I like Moths, they come out at night and make the dark less lonely”

“I like Moths, they come out at night and make the dark less lonely”

Each page gives a unique insight to the artist, and of course it’s filled with absolutely amazing artwork! It’s a great invitation to discuss the art with kids. Simple questions like:

-       ‘What does this picture make you think of?’

-       ‘Does this picture make you feel anything?’

-       ‘What do you like about this picture?’

Conversations like this can help give children the words and confidence to express their impressions and feelings around art and life.

It’s also great fun to discuss bugs!

If bugs aren’t your thing you might like What’s Your Favorite Color?, What’s Your Favorite Food? or What’s Your Favorite Animal? all of which are done in the same format.

 What’s Your Favorite Bug?:
by Eric Carle and Friends – Henry Holt and Company, 2018
ages 2 to 10 years / art + coffee table

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