cover image What the Ladybug Heard

What the Ladybug Heard

Julia Donaldson, illus. by Lydia Monks, Holt, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9028-4

Donaldson's (Stick Man) captivating language and Monks's (the Indie Kidd series) brightly colored collages tell the tale of a quiet ladybug who foils an attempted robbery of a farm's prize cow. An excellent read-aloud or lap book, it's full of slapstick action, animal noises, and repeated phrases that invite participation. Donaldson's rhymed verse is both rhythmic and skillfully executed. " ‘NEIGH!' said the horse. ‘OINK!' said the hog./ ‘BAA!' said the sheep. ‘WOOF!' said the dog./ And one cat meowed while the other one purred... and the ladybug never said a word." When the ladybug finally does speak up, she's a chatterbox, explaining how she overheard the thieves' intentions and how the animals can outsmart them in the dark. Monks's collages feature varying perspectives, unexpected textures, and a humorous map of the robbers' plan. To outwit the would-be robbers, the animals make each others' noises, directing them not to the prize cow, but to the duck pond. It's not clear why the animals need to trade noises (not just places) to mislead the thieves, but that in no way diminishes the book's fun. Ages 2–6. (May)