Newest Review: ... one is prepared to share, but the bad-tempered one would rather fight over them. The friendly ladybird calls his bluff by agreeing t... more
The Tale of a Cantankerous Ladybird
The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Member Name: Emmamac1
The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Advantages: Teaches children to share and not be grumpy!
Disadvantages: Does 'challenge for a fight'
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.
Summary: Great classical picture book