________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 13 . . . . March 4, 2005

cover One Little Bug.

Paola Van Turennout.
Vancouver, BC: Simply Read Books, 2005.
40 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-894965-12-4.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Barb Taylor.

* /4


One little bug
Can be very small.

He's not much to look at,
And not very tall.

But just add another
And now you have two,

That's twice as many
To keep bugging you.

Paola Van Turennout has written and illustrated this counting/picture book which introduces simple addition, subtraction, and regrouping themes. One by one, bugs stack themselves in an inverted pyramid style. When the number reaches eight, two of the bugs (snails), leave to watch TV, forcing the other six bugs to reorganize. Three bees join the group, and then a tiny flea lands on top causing the bugs to "wobble and flop." As the bugs leave to go home to bed, the until-then, unidentified bugs are named: an ant, a spider and three worms. The last bug, never identified by name but looking like a caterpillar, remains.

internal art

     The author seems to put rhyme before story in this book. The text seems forced and unnatural. Until mid-story (eight bugs), the creatures in the story are referred to as "bugs." At this point, two snails leave the group "to watch some TV." The word "bug," according to Webster's Dictionary, is a general term for insects. Including snails and worms are going to "bug" young readers who know a thing or two about insects. While the spider may work as a bug for some readers, I'm bugged by the fact that the spider illustrated has six legs and is waiting "to give you a scare!"

     The illustrations are simple and bright. The bugs all have large yellow oval eyes with round black pupils. While the result is cute-looking, young children might be tempted to count the predominant eyes instead of the bugs. Counting the tightly stacked groupings of the bugs may be difficult for young children. As an early childhood teacher, I prefer counting books like Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1989) where items are counted in a left to right sequence. Spacing the bugs farther apart would help with one to one correspondences when counting.

     Despite its cuteness, I'd hesitate to recommend this book. It contains misinformation about "bugs," the rhymes are mundane, and the groupings of bugs may be difficult for young readers to count.

Not Recommended.

Barb Taylor is an early childhood educator and freelance writer living in Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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