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The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Member Name: cstag
The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Advantages: Great Book for Children, Educational Properties
Disadvantages: Nothing - Unless you really like aphids!
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 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
Summary: A Firm Favourite
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