cover image The Little Buggers

The Little Buggers

J. Patrick Lewis. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1769-5

The nimble duo behind A Hippopotamusn't and Ridicholas Nicholas returns with another hilarious poetry collection. Lewis displays his gift for verbal pyrotechnics as his wandering eye alights on a motley assortment of ""little buggers."" Grounded in careful observation that ferrets out realistic details of the insect world, his agile verse is both clever and devilishly funny, and it sparkles with descriptive gems (of a damselfly, ""her motor hums/ all summer long to bullfrog drums""). Whether poking fun at an insect wedding (""Monarch caterpillar bridesmaids in so many pairs of shoes""), after which the groom mysteriously disappears on the honeymoon (""something always goes awry/ At the Marriage of a Spider to one more Bluebottle Fly!""), or warning those bathroom loiterers, the silverfish, to beware of middle-of-the-night intruders (""They stumble in at 2 a.m.,/ Turn on the light and flush the john..../ And some of Them have nothing on!""), Lewis wields his pen with a wink and a nod. Chess, meanwhile, gleefully unleashes a battalion of toothsome bugs with little humanoid faces, all delicately picked out in watercolor and sepia. Among her droll details, her scorpion sports a sombrero and four pairs of cowboy boots; her walking stick has his shoes on backward. Fleas, crickets, butterflies, ants--the gang's all here. Kids should take to this buzz-worthy book like flies to honey. Ages 4-8. (June)