Anywhere you glance casually or carefully this time of year, you will see them in all shapes and sizes, in the air, among the greenery or beneath the dirt. Sometimes you may hear, feel, smell or taste (yuck) them first but make no mistake they are there, in staggering numbers. Amazing, intriguing, beautiful, pesky, frightful and downright gross, bugs are busy.
Bob Staake, illustrator, have thankfully returned in Bugs Galore (Candlewick Press). Pages literally crawl with the critters as they move among girls and boys and jaunty phrases.
Big bugs, small bugs,
creep bugs, crawl bugs.
Sky bugs, land bugs,
Four line verses create a cadence akin to their buggy voices asking readers to dig and peek, look and seek, with caution and courage. Stein's poetic text creates a mindful tour through the world of bug emotion (mean bugs, kind bugs, time-to-flee bug), bug habitat (mud safari), bug travel (cruise in groups, swimming skim bug), bug names (love bugs, bedbugs) and the time of day when some bugs shine (nighttime show bugs). Closing with a question, he requests of readers a pause to ponder, how a bug might view our place in his domain.
With a book jacket the twin of its cover, Bob Staake attracts readers with his highly stylized illustrations; colorful, eccentric, bursting with feeling and life. Creamy endpapers patterned in happy, spring green bugs of every variety will bring smiles. Each of these double page layouts pictures a boy and a girl done in his delightful depiction of large round faces with expressive wide eyes; curiosity, wonder, hesitation, fear, disgust and the absolute joy of discovery and observation is evident.
Staake's digitally designed denizens populate all the nooks and crannies of his two page spreads. Readers will recognize many but his added details are guaranteed to elicit exclamations if not explosions of laughter; bugs wearing top hats, ties or crowns, some have checked or plaid bodies, red-and-white striped unicorn like noses, or another deep in a hole lounging while watching BUGZ on a television. These imaginative visuals not only provide the perfect compliment to Stein's words but are sparks for igniting readers' inventiveness; you have to love the "what-ifs" they generate.
Bugs Galore written by Peter Stein and illustrated by Bob Staake will tease and tickle your senses as pages teeming with motion envelope readers. Repeat readings are a given; the compulsion to do so can not be ignored. Start saving your pennies for one of those insect boxes.
Candlewick Press has a very nice Read To Us Story-Hour Kit for several stories including Bugs Galore. Julie Danielson at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast has an extensive interview well worth reading with Bob Staake.