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
"Hey you, Want to fight?"
The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Member Name: broxi3781
The Bad-tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Advantages: Lovely story, educational, fun, and may inspire some lovely artwork as well.
Disadvantages: Clocks are too small, some of the print is very small.
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".
Summary: A wonderful childrens book which is also highly educational.