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The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle

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8 Reviews

Author: Eric Carle / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 August 2010 / Genre: Pop-Up & Books / Subcategory: Picture & Activity Books / Category: Interactive & Activity Books & Packs / Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Title: The Bad-tempered Ladybird / ISBN 13: 9780141332031 / ISBN 10: 0141332031 / Alternative EAN: 9780140503982

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    8 Reviews
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      23.04.2013 22:41
      Very helpful



      This is a book to enjoy, particularly at this time of year!

      === Nurturing Nature ===

      Eric Carle is probably one of the best known and most well loved of children's authors and illustrators. Probably the best known is The Very Hungry Caterpillar with its voracious appetite. Most of his books are suitable for the age range of our preschool, i.e. 2 years to school entry. Many tell tales of wildlife, animals or how things grow, so many of them connect to children's interests. This story, alongside the Caterpillar and The Tiny Seed, are always popular at this time of year when, after the long, dark winter, the children begin to rediscover the delights of the great outdoors. I'm often horrified at the way small children will sometimes pick up a ladybird very carefully, show it to their friends and staff, then drop it on the floor and stamp on it! It's part of our role to help them to understand why this behaviour is unacceptable, and anything that helps them to develop an understanding of the little creatures is helpful. That's one area where this book is so good.

      ===The Lowdown===

      My copy is a paperback published by Picture Puffins. A little unusually, all of the information usually found on or near the front cover is at the back. It tells me that this book was first copyrighted by Eric Carle in 1977 and published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton the same year. The Picture Puffins version was first published in 1982, so this story has stood the test of time. The American version is called 'The Grouchy Ladybug'. The U.K. price indicated on the back is £4.99. I've seen £5.24 quoted on the Amazon U.K. recently, or as little as £1.97 used.

      ===By The Clock ===

      The first four pages form an introductory section. When the sun rises at 5 a.m. a friendly ladybird alights on an aphid-covered leaf, but a bad-tempered ladybird arrives from the opposite direction. They both want to breakfast on the aphids. The friendly one is prepared to share, but the bad-tempered one would rather fight over them. The friendly ladybird calls his bluff by agreeing to fight. The bad-tempered one is less confident now and backs away, blustering that his counterpart isn't big enough for him to fight. When the response is 'then why don't you pick on someone bigger?' he responds 'I'll do that!' and flies away.

      From here the book's layout is not dissimilar to The Very Hungry Caterpillar's, as at hourly intervals the bad-tempered ladybird encounters a new potential foe on pages that reflect the size of each foe. This is also cleverly reflected in the font size used for each section. Starting with a wasp, these creatures increase in size as the story progresses. To each opponent the ladybird says 'Hey you' 'Want to fight?' and when they answer 'If you insist' he says 'Oh, you're not big enough' and flies off. This continues until 5 in the afternoon, when he confronts his largest supposed enemy who doesn't answer him. At the end there's quite literally a twist in the tale /tail! We end up right back where we started from. We go back to normal-sized pages with this 5 o'clock episode, too. The font used here is huge in size, but reverts back to 'normal' for the end of the story.

      If you're familiar with Eric Carle's style of illustration I think you'll appreciate this one - bright, clear and as distinctive as usual.

      ===Learning Through Ladybirds ===

      There are lots of things to like about this book.

      The front cover has a brief description of aphids, what they are, what they do, the fact that ladybirds eating them is good for plants and trees. I like the 'Three cheers for them!' comment - Carle is definitely giving children the message that ladybirds are beneficial insects that should be valued. So you can see why I lie to use this book with the children in my care.

      There are opportunities to enhance children's mathematical concepts. Obviously there are the ladybirds' spots - they look like seven-spot ladybirds from one angle, but from another more like the dreaded Harlequin! You could count the stars, the fireflies, the aphids on the leaf and so on. On each page starting from six o'clock, and the five o'clock page earlier, there is a small clock in the right hand corner - ideal to reinforce the skills of children who are beginning to recognise and name numerals, or even to tell the time. Of course there is also the aspect of size comparison to explore.

      Children's knowledge of world wildlife can be expanded through the brief description of each creature encountered. The hyena, for instance, is 'laughing eerily and showing its teeth'.

      Language development - I think the vocabulary introduced is done skilfully - such as 'encountered' 'eerily' and 'lowering'. This is done sparingly and appropriately. Carle has also used alliteration as in 'ran into a rhinoceros'. These techniques are predominantly in the central section and lend it an almost poetic tone. The repetition of key phrases encourages children to join in. All of these help reading skills develop.

      It's obvious that this book addresses issues of behaviour, sharing, kindness, consequences of actions and so on. Not so long ago I used it to calm down a three-year-old boy who had major behavioural issues that involved throwing chairs at other children and hitting staff on the cheek with Brio trains. For his own safety as well as everyone else's he had to be removed to a quieter environment and often this story was the only strategy that worked. I think he liked the 'want to fight?' line! I'm not sure how much the messages of the story had an impact on him - he was later diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum as well as having ADD - but in some way that book certainly helped!

      I've found this story particularly good when working with boys. That's not to say that it's not a hit with girls, because it is, but many educators will be aware that it can sometimes be difficult to engage some boys in the world of books. Not so with this, in my experience.

      I wouldn't want to overlook one of the key things about this book: it's funny and children enjoy the humour of it!

      ===Taking Learning Further===

      Is it OK if I briefly share a few of my thoughts?

      Do some research on the ladybird lifecycle; you might learn something! I remember keeping some ladybird eggs in a container when my children were small. As they hatched we fed the larvae aphids and watched them grow through to the hatching stage. Lots of comparisons here with the caterpillar lifecycle!

      Find a companion factual text about ladybirds, caterpillars or frogs. Try the 'Lifecycles' range by QED publishing. www.qed-publishing.co.uk You could put together a story sack, especially if you work in an early years setting.

      Take children outside with a bug box and find some ladybirds. Look at different kinds: they're not all red, for instance. Look for aphids and the damage they can do to plants. Count the spots.

      Explore all the other animals depicted in the story to learn more about them.

      Make a clock face and use a split pin to attach the hands.

      Try making pictures in the style of Eric Carle. His website is http://www.eric-carle.com/
      There are some free downloads available there, too. He also explains how he creates collages using painted tissue paper and explains how it's done! Well worth a look.

      I'm sure you can come up with many more ideas!


      No surprises that I really recommend this book and it's a five-star-rating from me; I'd give it more if I could!

      Thank you for reading this review. It may appear on other sites.
      ©Verbena April 2013


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        05.02.2013 20:28
        Very helpful



        A wonderful childrens book which is also highly educational.

        We do love the Very Hungry Caterpillar, but up until quite recently, it was the only book by this author that we owned. However, we have been studying insects lately, and when I read that this book is also useful for teaching children to tell the time, , I decided to give it a try. I paid £2.49 including postage from ebay. New copies are available from Amazon @ £5.75 for paperback and £5.74 for board book.

        The Bad Tempered Ladybird begins and ends on lovely soft and quiet notes - but the rest of the book is anything but quiet and gentle. The pugilistic ladybird begins his day at 5a.m. searching for breakfast. He spots a leaf covered in aphids - but just as he lands on the leaf, so does another ladybird beetle. The nice ladybird cheerfully calls good morning and offers to share, but the bad tempered ladybird wants all the aphids for himself, screaming at the gentle insect to go away. When this doesn't work, he offers to fight for them. It appears that he is all bluster though as when the other bug calmly agrees "If you insist" He huffs away looking for someone bigger to fight with.

        The pugilistic lady bird spends the rest of his day meeting bigger and bigger creatures, from a wasp to a blue whale, and offering to fight each one, but when each creatures agrees to fight , he flies off again, insisting that they are not big enough. Finally he finds someone who is big enough, and he also learns that fighting isn't always the wisest choice.

        Each page begins with the time of day, and there is a very tiny clock in the upper right hand corner showing the time. I think this is a brilliant idea, and especially like that this clocks teach minutes as well as hours, but they are terribly small, only 1/2 centimetre across, so I am buying a set of large dot stickers to draw clock faces on and add to the pages. I think this is a wonderful way to expose young children to clocks and the time, without really making a lesson of it, just something they can pick up through repeated reading. I like that this exposes children to traditional clock faces, as all too often, most of the clocks they see nowadays are digital.

        Another unique feature of this book is the way pages are cut to different sizes. The first few pages, and the last few are full sized but the page for the first animal ladybird meets is only 4 centimetre wide, looking more like a book mark than a page. Each page after this is slightly larger - I am estimating 1/2", and there is a sun on each page so you can see the rising up in the sky until noon and then descending downwards until 5:00. The time advances by hours at first, but towards the end of the book we also get 5:15, 5:30 and 5:45. So this is book is not only teaching time through clocks but also using the sun and showing how the position of the sun changes throughout the day.

        Eric Carle has his own unique style of illustration, and this book is characteristic of this style. His illustrations are bright colourful and engaging. I had originally assumed these were painted, but they are not - although some brush strokes are obvious so I assume some of the background is painted. Eric Carle creates his pictures with tissue paper collage. His website has step by step instructions which look so fun I am planning to buy tissue paper with my next Tesco delivery so we can try it ourselves.

        My sons both enjoyed this book, even my oldest at age 7. It's another book that I end up losing my voice from as we shout "Hey you , Want to Fight?" and the ending is absolutely perfect. There is plenty of humour in this, but there is a moral as well. This book does teach a lesson about bullying - but even my youngest quickly noticed that the bully here was really frightened despite all his bluff and bluster. I think this is often the case in real life as well. This is a simple, but beautiful story which just happens to teach time and I believe sets a very positive example for children as well. Add to these factors the fact that it has beautiful illustrations and the children really enjoy the story and I can not give this less than the full five stars, even I am whinging a bit about the clock size.

        I do wish I had found this book when my sons were babies, and am kicking myself that we have lost many years of enjoying this. I think the bold bright colours, the variety of animals and the opportunity for very expressive reading makes this book a lovely choice for infants. Younger children would also learn quite a lot about size from this book. I would recommend this just as a story up until perhaps age 6. Yes, my 7 year old does enjoy it, but I don't I feel it would be worth buying at his age just as a story. He does need reminders though as to how to tell time on a traditional clock, and phrases such as "quarter to", so I feel this has some value in this regard as well.

        The one area I can not recommend this is book is for emergent readers to read alone. This does have predictable text, and uses primarily easy to read words, but I do have an issue with the text for new readers. Some of the pages have very large, even giant text in bold black on a white background, and these pages would be ideal for children just learning to read. However other pages have very tiny text printed over dark patterns. The obvious solution would be to use this for shared reading, with an adult reading the pages with tiny print and the child reading those with larger print.

        * If you are interested in attempting to create an Eric Carle style masterpiece of your own - or helping your children to do so please visit his web pace @ http://www.eric-carle.com/ go to photos and video gallery, and "How I create My Pictures".


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          06.06.2011 22:29
          Very helpful



          buy it and enjoy it

          This book was bought for my little boy, he turns two in a couple of weeks and has just started to show a real interest in books and wildlife, animals and insects, in fact he is slightly obsessed with spiders, so this book seemed to fit the bill. I also have a nine year old daughter who is loving exploring all her baby brothers new books and toys.

          This book is written by Eric Carle better known for writing the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, it is set out in a similar style to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as the story advances the pages and the writing get bigger.

          The front cover illustration is of a Ladybird with a very mean grumpy expression on his face, inside the front cover is a brief description of what an Aphid is, what they do, and why it is good that ladybirds eat them. Eric Carle then dedicates the book to Ladybirds and gives them three cheers.

          The story begins in the dead of night with fire flies dancing around the moon, when the sun comes up, two lady birds fly to a leaf to eat the Aphids, one is friendly and offers to share its breakfast, while the other is bad tempered he does not want to share he wants them all to himself and offers to fight the friendly ladybird for them. When she takes him on he says she isnt big enough so she tells him to go find someone bigger to fight.

          The pages then go from a small strip to a full page with a clock at the top of each page, this is a great way of eventually teaching the time, although my little boy is a little young for this yet. The ladybird each hour meets an insect or animal, starting at a beetle working his way through lobsters skunks gorillas etc until he met a huge whale he offers them all a fight, then states they are not big enough and moves on to the next animal.

          The Whale teaches the ladybird a lesson giving him a slap with his tail, he throws him back to where he began, this time he willingly shares the aphids on the leaf with the friendly ladybird.

          My little boy really enjoys looking at the lovely bright pictures although I dont think he gets the moral behind the story, that will come eventually, he just loves making the noises the animals make.

          This is a beautifully written and illustrated kiddies book, I would recommend it for a wide age group, my nine year old has been telling the time with the clock on each page.

          Printed by Puffin and widely available from around 2.50 on amazon Buy it and enjoy it!!


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            15.09.2009 10:31
            Very helpful



            Great classical picture book

            The bad tempered ladybird is in a foul mood. It is not prepared to share any aphids with any other bug. It is time it learnt a lesson, and this is only achieved when it challenges other animals to a fight, and finally gets brought back down to reality with a whack. The Bad Tempered Ladybird by Eric Carle is a children's picture book, for 3 to 8 year olds, that has been around for a more than a couple of decades. It is still a favourite to be used in schools and at home.

            There is a leaf full of juicy aphids. The aphids are killing the plant. A friendly ladybird flies onto the leaf and decides to have the aphids for breakfast. At the same time the bad tempered ladybird flies in too. Both ladybirds want the aphids to eat, the friendly ladybird suggests sharing, and is very polite. The bad tempered ladybird screams that the aphids are not for sharing and offers a fight. The friendly ladybird accepts the challenge but the angry ladybird says it is not big enough to fight. So, the bad tempered ladybird flies off to find something bigger.

            This is where the fun begins. The book is divided into hours, and we follow the bad tempered ladybird's journey through the day, challenging bigger and bigger animals to a fight. At six o clock it meets a wasp, challenges it to a fight, sees it's stinger, and states "Oh, you're not big enough," and flies off. This is the 'catchphrase' of the story, as we see the ladybird travel the land contesting animals like a bird, a lobster and a gorilla, to name a few. It is not until the bad tempered ladybird comes across a humongous whale that it is taught a lesson. Obviously, the fight is very one sided and only takes a flip of the whale's tail to sort out the bad tempered ladybird. Twelve hours after the initial meeting between the two ladybirds, the bad tempered ladybird arrives back at the same leaf, realising how awful it has been. Hungry and tired, it has learnt it's lesson and asks the friendly ladybird to share.

            As I have already said this book is rather old now (1977). It is still very popular and sends a brilliant message to all young listeners. The bad tempered ladybird went from creature to creature, knowing he could not cope in a fight, but had blinders on and did not want to back down. It was only when his challenge was met that he realised his attitude was dreadful and a much better ladybird emerged.

            Another super factor about this book is that it involves time. Children can help tell the story, at the same time, learning what hour comes next. The difficult bit is going from 12 to 1 as it goes against the laws of counting, but they soon learn. Then when the bad tempered ladybird meets the whale, quarter past, half past and quarter to are introduced.

            The book is made in a very unusual, but fun way. The first two double pages are normal. After that the pages start as small flaps, in correspondence with the size of the animal. As the ladybird's journey progresses, the animals get bigger and each page also gets bigger. The writing on each page gets larger and larger too.

            Eric Carle is such a well known children's author, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Mixed up Chameleon, are a couple of his books. He successfully writes children's literature in a entertaining manner, but always with an educational background. The use of the aphids killing the leaf and the ladybirds eating the aphids to help save the plant is all part of our natural world and laws of survival. It is fun watching the animals getting bigger and tougher to defeat. Each animal has a different defense mechanism, which the children love to try and guess.

            The illustrations are typical Eric Carle. They look hand painted, and you can see the brush strokes. The animals are realistic. The pictures are dated, and not quite as colourful and glossy as other more contemporary children's books. However, the actual format and use of the pages getting bigger and bigger is great, and enjoyed by my boys. The youngest always likes to flip the tail and teach the ladybird a lesson.

            The only negative factor about the book is that the ladybird is challenging for a 'fight'. Now, I do not encouraging fighting (although it does happen!). I try and use the fight aspect in a positive light, and make my little chappie's realise that it is bad behaviour and the ladybird is not acting appropriately.

            The Bad Tempered Ladybird is a must have in your collection. It deals with sharing, not fighting, time, animals and their behaviour. I know that many schools still use this book for teaching purposes. It really does send a number of messages to little listeners. It is quite old fashioned now to look at, but still brings lots of fun as it is made in such a unusual way.

            Whenever my small boys are feeling a little grumpy, and unwilling to cooperate, it's a great time to read The Bad Tempered Ladybird, and reflect on their mood and behavior!

            The Bad Tempered Ladybird is published by Puffin.
            ISBN 0-14-050398-6


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              11.03.2009 23:42
              Very helpful



              Overall a book your child will love.

              The Bad-Tempered Ladybird by Eric Carle is a great puffin picture book. You can buy the book from various places including Amazon where it is priced at £3.55 which is for a paper back copy. The book is suitable for children aged 3-7 years.

              The author of the book is Eric Carle who is very well known for his great picture books. In his books he uses great use of colours and imagination. His most famous and successful book is the book 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' which I'm sure you will all know. He has produced many other books including: The very busy spider, The mixed-up chameleon, From head to toe, The tiny seed and many more.

              My daughters both go to nursery and this week the school have started a new thing where each week every child brings home a story sack. Each sack is full of games, toys and books that the child can enjoy and learn about with there parents. My daughters got a sack each and in one of the sacks was the book The Bad-Tempered Ladybird. So firstly I'll tell you a bit about the book then I'll let you no my views and what my daughters thought of the book.

              As soon as you pick up the book you straight away see the picture of the ladybird on the front cover. The picture is simple but gives you the impression that the ladybird is bad tempered. The book starts by telling us that there is a friendly ladybird about to have her breakfast of aphids who offers to share it with the Bad-Tempered Ladybird who refuses to share it and wants it all. The Bad-Tempered Ladybird then offers to fight the friendly caterpillar for the aphids who agrees but then the Bad-Tempered Ladybird says that the friendly caterpillar isn't big enough to fight. So the friendly caterpillar says find someone bigger to fight then. The Bad-Tempered ladybird then goes on a hunt to find someone bigger to fight. The book then goes on to tell us that each hour the Ladybird meets a different animal that is bigger then the one before. Each time the animal gets ready to find the ladybird the ladybird then states it wants to fight some one bigger so carries on with his search. The ladybird meets various animals including a skunk, a snake, a gorilla and many more .It finally gets to quarter to six at night and the ladybird says to the whale that he wants to fight him. The whale then gives the ladybird a big slap with his tail. The ladybird then flies back to where it started and it sees the friendly ladybirds about to eat some more aphids. The Bad-Tempered Ladybird finally agrees to share them with the friendly ladybird. So the Bad-Tempered Ladybird isn't so bad tempered anymore. So you can definitely tell the Bad-Tempered Ladybird has learnt a lesson.

              I think this book is brilliant it's not just the storyline that I like it's the layout of the book and I find the pictures very clever. Similar to 'The very hungry caterpillar' in the centre of the book it has pages that you turn that start small and each page gets wider and wider making it easier for your child to turn and making the story more interesting. In the top right hand corner of each page it has a clock showing each time that the ladybird meets another animal. When you look at the pages you can see all the clocks as the pages get bigger. Also on each page it has a picture of the sun which gets smaller and smaller so you can tell that the day is moving on to night.

              I think the book has taught my daughters quite a lot they had a play clock that they could change the hands on so as the story went on the play clocks time changed with it. So I have found the book has helped them with the time and learning that as time goes on so does the day. My daughters enjoyed hearing about all the animals the ladybird met. Also how the ladybird started by being bad-tempered and thinking it was really strong till it got beaten by the biggest animal which brought him to realise that he wasn't the strongest and turned friendly. I enjoyed reading the book and thought a lot of detail had gone into to. The pictures are simple and go with the character of the book.

              Overall an enjoyable and clever book.

              ISBN 0 14 050.398 6

              You will also find this review on ciao under the same name gsparkle. Thank you for reading.


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                26.02.2009 22:17
                Very helpful
                1 Comment



                A Firm Favourite

                This is a bright and colourful book by the children's author Eric Carle (he of the 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' fame). It is a firm favourite with young children as well as having various educational properties.

                The Story

                The story starts at 5 o'clock in the morning as a friendly ladybird and the bad-tempered ladybird both fly to the same leaf to eat aphids for breakfast. The friendly ladybird is pleasant and willing to share the aphids; however the bad tempered ladybird refuses and offers to fight the friendly ladybird. When the friendly ladybird agrees, cowardice gets the better of the bad-tempered ladybird and he refuses telling the friendly ladybird that it is too small for him to fight. The friendly ladybird tells it to go and pick on someone bigger. So in a temper, the bad tempered ladybird tells the friendly ladybird that it will and flies off. This sets the scene for the story......

                The bad tempered ladybird flies around gradually meeting larger and larger insects and animals including a wasp, snake, gorilla and elephant. Each time, the ladybird asks the creature for a fight, the creature agrees, but the cowardly ladybird makes an excuse and flies away.

                Eventually the ladybird comes across a big whale, who just ignores the bad tempered ladybird. The ladybird continues to ask the whale - but as it is such a big creature, the ladybird asks his fin and his flippers - each time getting no answer. Eventually he asks the whale's tale and he gets flipped across the sea and the land by the whale's huge tale. The bad tempered ladybird arrives back at the leaf on which the friendly ladybird is still eating. The bad tempered ladybird is all wet, tired and hungry. The friendly ladybird again asks if the bad tempered ladybird would like to share the aphids, and the bad tempered ladybird agrees and thanks the friendly ladybird.

                Illustrations and Layout

                The illustrations are bold and colourful and include a large grumpy looking, bad-tempered ladybird on the front. However, the clever part of the story is the layout. Each page is of a different width in relation to the size of animal that the bad-tempered ladybird meets. It starts with small pages for the small animals, gradually increasing in size as he meets the large animals, until the end when he meets the whale (which fills 3 pages to show the whales size).
                Also as the ladybird meets a different animal at a different time of the day, there is a little clock at the top of the page which illustrates the time.


                There are many educational points which can be focused on within the story. It can be used to prompt various discussions on friendship and sharing and why fighting and being greedy are wrong. It also demonstrates forgiveness - even though the bad tempered ladybird was so mean, the friendly ladybird still forgave him and offered to share his aphids.

                It can also be used for looking at early maths concepts. Because the animals and the page layout gradually increase in the book, the story can be used for looking at size. Children can guess which animal the ladybird may meet next in the story - particularly when they understand that the animals increase in size. The story also introduces the children to a variety of different animals that they may not have come across before.

                Also the little clocks on the top of each page can be used to reinforce telling the time. Eric Carle also uses the sun in his illustrations to demonstrate the concept of time passing. The sun is in the background of each picture rising as the day progresses and then gradually getting lower and setting as night draws in.

                My copy of the book is published by Puffin and has an rrp of £5.99


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                  16.04.2007 17:56
                  Very helpful



                  A superb children's book teaching about time & how we shouldn't be grumpy!

                  The bad-tempered ladybird is yet another one of Eric Carle's fantastically illustrated and educational picture books. In short it's about a bad-tempered ladybird who through experience turns in to a happier little bug! (One can only hope that we all become happier bugs!)

                  ~ The Story ~

                  A friendly ladybird is eating a breakfast of aphids on a leaf when it is joined by a v bad-tempered ladybird (I can sympathise with morning grumpiness!) who also wants to eat the aphids but refuses to share them.........

                  "No, they're mine, all mine or do you want to fight for them?"

                  The friendly ladybird says "If you insist" but with cowardice, the grump replies " Oh, you're not big enough!" and flies off....

                  The bad-tempered ladybird then proceeds to pick a fight with every animal he meets:

                  'At 6 o'clock it met a wasp. "Hey you, want to fight?" "If you insist" said the wasp showing it's stinger. "Oh you're not big enough" said the bad-tempered ladybird and flew off'

                  As the story progresses, the animals that the ladybird challenges to a fight, get bigger and bigger and more venomous, e.g. a lobster with it's claws, a hynena with it's large teeth , a gorilla beating it's chest...........and so on and so on. He challenges each new, larger animal and comes up with the same excuse every time of "Oh, you're not big enough!"

                  Each new animal is met at a different 'o'clock' time.

                  Until eventually the ladybird meets a whale who doesn't respond......so it flies off and asks the whale's flipper if it wants to fight but gets no answer. So he flies on to the whale's fin and with no reply from that he flies on to the whale's tail where it gets such a HUGE slap that it lands back where it started from with the friendly ladybird still eating the aphids.

                  The other ladybird, still retaining it's courteousness suggests that the grump shares the remaining aphids. The bad-tempered ladybird is so so tired and hungry that he accepts the offer to share and thanks the other ladybird.............and so they finish off all of the aphids.

                  The story ends happily with both the ladybirds helping the leaf by eating the aphids and both going to sleep as the fireflies come out to dance around the moon.

                  ~ Illustrations and Layout of the book ~

                  Eric Carle, as clever and as innovative as ever has different size pages for each animal............as every animal gets bigger, so do the pages.

                  The first 2 pages are 'full size' but when the ladybird meets the wasp it's a much, much smaller page, the stag beetle is a slightly larger page, followed by the praying mantis and so on and so forth until we get to the whale who takes up 3 and 1/2 pages so as to demonstrate it's enormity!!

                  The clever part is when the whale's tail slaps the ladybird (probably without even realising). The whale's tail is half a page, cut out in the shape of a tail and children love turning this page over with a huge slap, so much so that my whale's tail is slightly ripped!

                  At the top of each page, there is a clock depicting each o'clock time as the story progresses...........when the whale 'starts to play' the time is shown in quarter of the hour, which helps to involve older children.

                  Eric Carle has also very cleverly shown how the sun rises throughout the day.........his use of the sun going up the different size pages and then down again is very innovative, showing the cycle of the day.

                  The drawings of each of the very unusual animals, that a lot of children may not have heard of prior to this story (praying mantis, skunk etc) are extremeley detailed.

                  Carle uses his collage effect drawings, as per usual which children can relate to; the sea in which the whale is swimming is very much how children of 4 - 6 would depict it. Very cleverly done by Eric Carle.

                  This for me, is the most elaborately illustrated of Carle's books as it shows a huge amount of educational benefits, just through the illustrations.

                  Thus leading me to ...............................

                  ~ Educational values of the book ~

                  SO MANY!!

                  * It introduces children to a multitude of animals, from a wasp to a praying mantis, to a hyena etc.............
                  * It allows adults to discuss the importance of manners.
                  * To teach about right and wrong, co-operation and conflict and standing up against 'bullies' (although I'm not overly keen on that terminology.)
                  * It aids in the teaching of time from o'clock to quarter past, half past and quarter to the hour.
                  * It teaches children about the passing of time and how the sun rises and falls as the day progresses back in to night.
                  * So many children and adults have to deal with anger and frustration when someone upsets them. This book is a great starting point to discuss how these feelings sometimes get us nowhere, as was the case with the bad-tempered ladybird.
                  * The importance of sharing and not being greedy.
                  * In mathematical terms it is great for teaching very young children about the difference in size as each animal is larger than the previous one.
                  * Teaches children about the importance of friends.

                  ~ Age range ~

                  In my experience this is ideal for 3 - 7 year olds. Each age group can deliberate the different concept / issue that is relevant to their age group.

                  ~ Price & Publishers ~

                  This book has been published by Puffin and Hamish Hamilton Ltd.

                  My paperback Puffin edition (ISBN: 0-14-050398-6) was £5.99 but check out www.amazon.co.uk as some of their used and new prices start from £1.86

                  The book has also been published in hardcover from 4.75

                  Well worth a 'scout' on the net for better bargains.

                  This book has also been produced, I think for the American market as the 'Grouchy Ladybug', same story just a different title for a different market.

                  ~ Conclusion ~

                  As you can probably see from my reviews, I think of Eric Carle as an outstanding author and illustrator but for me this stands head and shoulders above the rest of his books due to it's HUGE educational values. A true 'must have' book for anyone with young children or for those of you working with children.....and for those of you who have no children around you, it's a great read. It reminds us, as adults that we shouldn't be as 'grouchy' as we sometimes are!!

                  ~ Other Eric Carle books ~
                  From head to toe
                  The very hungry caterpillar
                  Rooster's off to see the world
                  The very busy spider

                  ...............and many, many more!!


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                  • More +
                    01.04.2007 10:09
                    Very helpful



                    Another book by a popular author

                    The Bad tempered ladybird

                    Another book from this ever popular author, and one which can be read to very young children.

                    ~~Story and Illustrations~~

                    Not surprisingly, given the title, the story focuses on a ladybird who is less than pleasant. The front cover is appealing because it shows in bright, bold detail this bad tempered bug.

                    Start to read the story and it’s night time with a lovely dark picture of fireflies dancing round the moon. In the morning, a ladybird flies to a leaf to eat the aphids but from the other side comes the bad tempered ladybird and decides she wants the aphids. Although the first ladybird greets the bad tempered one, the latter refuses to share the aphids, and screams “They’re mine. All mine” Although the bad tempered lady bird acts all brave, when the first ladybird doesn’t back down, she flies off.

                    At this stage of the book, the format changes, and the pages become thinner so that they can all be seen- gradually getting wider. That may not make any sense at all,but any way, it’s rather like an index.. This graduation of sizing is because there is a clock in the corner of each page, so each clock has to be seen.

                    The clocks basically chart the progress of the bad tempered ladybird. She meets a wasp at 6 o clock, and offers to fight it. When the wasp agrees to a fight, it’s told that it’s not big enough, and off the ladybird flies. This continues on an hourly basis, with the ladybird meeting and offering to fight a stag beetle, a preying mantis, a sparrow, a lobster, a skunk, a boa constrictor, a hyena, a gorilla, a rhinoceros, and elephant and a whale. The pattern for each animal is the same, but as the size of the animal increases, so does the text size, so we get a feeling that she is indeed dealing with animals which are getting bigger and bigger.

                    The bad tempered ladybird offers to fight the whale’s flipper, but when she gets no answer, she flies on. She then asks the whale’s fin if it wants a fight, and again, gets no answer, so flies on. When, at 5.45, she asks the whale’s tail if it wants a fight, she gets such a SLAP that she flew across the sea and back onto the land where she lands where she started on the leaf with the friendly lady bird.

                    The journey took 12 hours, and when the friendly ladybird offers the bad tempered ladybird some aphids, the bad tempered ladybird, who is now a “wet, tired and hungry ladybird”, accepts them gratefully…the picture even shows the bad tempered ladybird saying thank you.

                    We leave the story with the leaf thanking the ladybirds for ridding it of aphids I presume, the ladybirds going to sleep, and once again, the fireflies coming out to dance around the moon.

                    The illustrations are simply done, and look like paintings because we can see the brush strokes. There is usually a nice bright background so that each animal can take centre stage, and the night time pictures really do look like night time. The drawing of each animal is big and bold, so children get a real sense of what each animal looks like, even if they have never before come across this animal.

                    ~~Other information~~

                    First published: 1977

                    Published: 1982 (Penguin Books)

                    ~~Other Books by Eric Carle~~

                    A prolific picture book writer, he has written some of the more popular childrens’ books, including:

                    The very Hungry caterpillar
                    The very Busy Spider
                    The Tiny Seed
                    The Very Lonely Firefly
                    From Head to Toe
                    The Mixed Up Chameleon

                    Too many to list- he has written and illustrated more than 70 books!

                    ~~What I think of it~~

                    I have read this book to children for many years, and like many others of this authors’ books, it doesn’t seem to date or lose its appeal.

                    At the start of the book is a short explanation of what ladybirds are, and why they eat aphids, so the scene is set with a bit of general knowledge. The book is actually dedicated to the ladybirds of the world, and gives them three cheers- great stuff!

                    The pictures appeal to children, and gives a lot of scope for discussion, and they love to make the noises of each animal as we meet them.

                    As we go through the book, we look at the times shown on the clocks. These are rather small, so its handy to have a larger clock face to show the times more clearly. It’s then useful to talk about whether this time is day time or night time, and the pictures will help with this.

                    It’s a good book to talk about comparative sizes and children enjoy guessing what could come next…for example, what IS bigger than an elephant?

                    The story line is one which tends to appeal to children- a tiny little insect out for a fight. We usually talk about fighting, and so ensues a whole discussion about why it’s wrong, and cite the ladybird as an example because she comes back to the leaf exhausted and ready for a rest.

                    A highly enjoyable book, with lots of discussion opportunities, but mostly just one to be enjoyed.

                    Thanks for reading.

                    Daniela xx


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                  • Product Details

                    The story of how a bad-tempered ladybird turns into a nicer, happier bug. Pages clearly illustrate the differences in small and large and time is shown visually as the sun moves through its path.

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