cover image The Ladybug Race

The Ladybug Race

Amy Nielander. PomegranateKids (, $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7649-7187-7

Two checkered lines sit at the far edges of debut author-illustrator Nielander%E2%80%99s clever and nicely designed picture book. They mark the start and finish of the race referred to in the title, and more than 100 red, pink, orange, and gold specimens (drawn actual size) are crammed along the left margin, waiting for the contest to begin. Each page turn reveals the race%E2%80%99s progress%E2%80%94seen from above, the ladybugs surge forward across the blank white page in a blobby mass of colorful dots. One tiny gray ladybug flies instead of crawling, and it%E2%80%99s a good thing%E2%80%94while it lands safely on the right side of the spread, the hundreds of other beetles disappear into the book%E2%80%99s central gutter. In a display of good sportsmanship (and following a silent exchange with a larger gray ladybug who was bringing up the rear%E2%80%94a parent, perhaps?), the small ladybug backtracks to help pull its fellow racers out in a chain that turns into a giant spiral to complete the race, while the gray ladybugs reunite. Rarely has a swarm of bugs been so charming. Ages 2%E2%80%938. (July)