Gotta Go! Gotta Go!
Sam Swope / Author, Sue Riddle / Illustrator Farrar Straus Gir
""I don't know much, but I know what I know. I gotta go! I gotta go! I gotta go to Mexico!"" chants a black-and-yellow-striped ""creepy-crawly bug"" as she proceeds slowly across a meadow. When an ant or grasshopper asks her destination, she restates the imperative and ""creepy-crawl[s] away just as fast as she [can] go."" All this hurrying wearies her, and after a ""long and hard and very strange"" nap in a cocoon, she awakens to discover orange-and-black wings on her back. Refreshed, she takes flight and reaches Mexico, where she meets other migrating Monarch butterflies. Swope (The Krazees) suggests the urgency of the caterpillar's mission by treating it as a kind of hard-wired biological destiny; repeated key phrases and the butterfly's simplified life cycle underscore its sense of a natural fate. At the conclusion, the tale comes full circle with the hatching of another creepy-crawly bug. Debut children's book artist Riddle complements the lucid narration with charming ink-and-watercolor miniatures. Her closeups of the metamorphosing heroine give way to aerial views of farm and canyon as the Monarch flies southward; a deft use of white space creates a sense of loneliness for the solo bug, culminating in a graceful dance of butterfly couples in a penultimate spread. The clarity of the storytelling and artwork match the heroine's determination. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000