Ugly Bug

Donald Charles, Author
Donald Charles, Author Dial Books $13.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1204-1
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-8037-1205-8
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This laboriously illustrated tale of an unpopular insect offers little in the way of excitement, instead serving up cold comfort to those on the social sidelines. Charles never establishes just what makes his hero not-so-cute--although Bug has a bumpy, carrot-shaped nose and sports an unfashionable ensemble of stripes and dots--but it's clear that he's an outsider. Grasshopper and Miss Cricket each decline his invitation to take a walk, and a hungry little bird considers him too repulsive to eat. Resigned to solitude, Bug sits alone as he admires cabbage and asparagus in the garden; faithfully rendered plants and flowers and carefully executed botanical borders around most compositions don't compensate for the characters' lack of charisma. Ultimately, the inelegant insect encounters a lookalike of the female persuasion who gladly and nonjudgmentally becomes his friend. In spite of the emphasis on Bug's virtues, it is his appearance that cements his new relationship--an unfortunate paradox. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
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