cover image THE BUGLIEST BUG


Carol Diggory Shields, , illus. by Scott Nash. . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0784-5

In a rollicking, tongue-in-cheek entree to the entomological world, Damselfly Dilly uncovers a plot by a group of sinister spiders who hold a "bugliest bug" contest—and secretly plan to consume the credulous contestants. "A ladybug curtsied, tumblebugs flipped,/ The judges applauded, then licked their lips." The steady beat of the simple and often clever verse swiftly advances the predictable plot. Meanwhile, the almost fluorescent gouache and pencil illustrations put readers at the swamp-level action with close-ups of the pop-eyed cartoon insects, most portrayed with only four legs and comical humanoid expressions. Busy spreads aglow in yellow and orange buzz with animation, as humorous vignettes show each bug earnestly performing its talent (e.g., a trio of click bugs appears to doo-wop). Shields and Nash (previously paired for Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp) end the tale with a hurrah (stink-bug humor included), and readers will be cheered, although not surprised, to learn which bug is ultimately proclaimed "bugliest." Tear-out trading cards feature the book's stars with facts and lighthearted prose: "While most know him as Dung Beetle, Tumblebug prefers to be called the Original Pooper Scooper... (he just built and moved into a cozy ball of manure)." Ages 4-8. (Apr.)