Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Old Favorite!

Revisiting your old favorites not only brings back memories, but also opens up a new perspective of looking at things. This is especially true with picture books as either your child would have grown up or you have evolved since you last read the book! Your little one may not have understood the underlying meaning of the text or you may have overlooked a subtle detail in the illustration and reading it again only confirms why it is, after all your favorite!
Today’s book is a famous title that we had read over and over again, but for some reason didn’t figure in the blog. I had picked up Eric Carle’sThe Grouchy Ladybug” sometime back and read it when Abhay was just over three years old. Like any Eric Carle’s work, this one too captures the imagination of the young and inspires the not so young too! J When I first read this book, Abhay could not tell time or could not comprehend the message conveyed through the medium of a not so friendly lady bug. But over a period of time, he has learnt to do both and when I read the book, probably for the 100th time, he was anything but bored!

This is a story about a grouchy ladybug that refuses to share and pays the price! The author brilliantly illustrates a day in the life of a ladybug while introducing basic time telling concepts and taking you and your little one on a wildlife expedition. As the narration is repetitive, it makes an interesting read for toddlers and early pre schoolers too. The story begins at 5.00 Am in the morning when a friendly ladybug flies in from the left to feed on the aphids on a leaf, when a grouchy ladybug flies in from the right with same intention of feeding on aphids for breakfast. When the friendly ladybug offers to share them, the grouchy ladybug declines and declares that she wants them all and offers to fight her instead! When the friendly ladybug reluctantly agrees to a fight, the grouchy ladybug, unsure of herself retracts saying “You are not big enough for me” and flies off looking for a suitable opponent. And so begins her quest for someone who is big enough for her to fight – a yellow jacket, a beetle, a mantis, a sparrow, a lobster, skunk, a boa constrictor, a hyena, a gorilla, a rhinoceros, an elephant and finally a blue whale all of whom she encounters every hour and all of whom, according to her, are not big enough for her to fight! Each encounter ends with her audacious parting shot “You are not big enough me” except when it comes to the whale who lands her a slap that in turn lands the grouchy ladybug on the same leaf as she began in the morning.  But the only difference at 6.00 PM in the evening, is that  she is no longer a grouchy ladybug, but a humbled one who is now willing to share her dinner with the ever-so- friendly ladybug! What a colorful way to teach everyone the importance of sharing and being nice to others! A must read classic for all kids!

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