Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

On The Move

The sky is a startling blue.  The sun is blinding-bright against the snow.  The temperature is in the low forties with a wind chill ten degrees higher than most of our temperatures the past several months.  When stepping outside a change is felt.  It is the whisper of spring.  

With spring, the smallest beings come awake.  They creep, crawl, hop, climb, and fly.  Sometimes, they find their way into our homes.  Sometimes, they interrupt our enjoyment outside.  And sometimes, they munch on our annuals, perennials, and vegetables.  Regardless, we are aware of their incredible abilities and value to our ecosystems.  Hustle Bustle Bugs (Little, Brown And Company, February 22, 2022) written by Catherine Bailey with pictures by Lauren Eldridge is an exploration and tribute to these creatures who share our world.

Secret cities buzz and bustle
with itty-bitty hard-work hustle.

If we really want to view what insects do, we need to look at them on their level.  We cannot be afraid to get low and close.  We can see carpenter ants chewing through wood no longer needed.  

Working in our gardens, ladybugs rid them of unwanted pests.  Grasshoppers work to keep growth under control.  Do you see termites guarding their nests from unwanted invaders?

Whether bugs are members of a team or individuals acting on their own, the results benefit the entire community.  Bees buzz together. Butterflies glide alone as do spiders weaving webs. 

Dusk and dark reveal other busy bugs.  Fireflies flash to signal an alarm.  Crickets create a symphony hoping to attract a mate.  No matter the weather or the time of day, insects are on the move.

In single (or two) sentences, two parts of a whole beckon readers with an inviting, upbeat rhyme written by Catherine Bailey.  Each of these factual sentences introduce readers to the value of each insect given focus.  These are then compared in separate sections on the same page to the actions of humans contributing to the success of our communities.  These analogies are a wonderful method of promoting understanding.  Here are two passages.

Ladybugs on patrol.
Polka-dot pest control.

Like police officers protecting
a neighborhood, ladybugs
protect flower and vegetable
gardens from aphids and other
tiny pests.

The open and matching dust jacket and book case clearly are a reflection of the title and contents of the book.  All of the featured creatures are about their daily activities.  The technique used as a placeholder for the author and illustrator names is employed for displaying the comparisons of the insect community to the human community within the interior of the title.  The scene on the front, right, continues across the spine to the left.  

On the back, the left, in the background are two little girls.  They are the explorers of the insect world seen in the illustrations.  Between them, they are carrying a notebook, a camera, and a magnifying glass.

Several plank boards, either a table, steps, or porch, provide the background on the opening and closing endpapers.  On the first set, we see on the left, insect identification cards, pine cones, caterpillars in a box of leaves, a magnifying glass, and a camera.  To the right are colored pencils and a notebook embossed with insect bodies.  On the second set, it is darker.  The notebook is on the left with pages torn and tattered sticking out from the covers.  The magnifying glass is on the right along with a roll of tape (used for securing the text), a moth, the insect identifying cards, the camera, and several picture slides of insects.

The title page is a double page picture.  It's a bug's eye view of earth along the bottom for the text.  Above that is grass alive with insects in action.  The two little girls are leaving their home for a day of discovery.

The remaining two-page images by artist Lauren Eldridge are spectacular, exhilarating settings.  They are replete with details; most of them as if we are within the images with the insects.  Lauren Eldridge painstakingly fashioned the insects and their environments by hand, using as much "found" materials as possible.  She photographed individual elements using

a Nikon D7200 with a 35mm lens, and the images were composited digitally.

One of my many favorite two-page pictures is at night.  On the left the two little girls are walking among the grass, daisies, and coneflowers.  One of them is pointing to the right.  Above the rhyming text on the left, a firefly glows.  On the right, a firefly is shown enlarged and close to use.  In the lower, right-hand corner another firefly glows.  To the left of that insect, the comparison text from a torn page is taped to the scene.

One word comes to mind after reading Hustle Bustle Bugs written by Catherine Bailey with pictures by Lauren Eldridge.  That word is AMAZING!  At the close of the book are two pages of further information, Fun Buggy Facts and Want to know more insider insect information? Check out these bug-tastic tidbits . . . To the left of the dedications and publication information is a wonderful explanatory A Note from the Artist.  Your personal and professional collections won't be complete without this title.

To learn more about Catherine Bailey and Lauren Eldridge, please follow the link attached to their names to access their websites.  Catherin Bailey has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Lauren Eldridge has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  This book is showcased with creator interviews at librarian, lecturer at Rutgers, and writer John Schumacher's Watch. Connect. Read. Please take a few moments to read the fascinating post at author Anitra Rowe Schulte's site about Lauren Eldridge's work, especially on this title. 

UPDATE:  This title is featured at Picture Book Builders on August 5, 2022.

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