Eric Carle is one of my favorite author/illustrators, and naturally we have collected many of his books over time. This title happened to be a gift from a friend a few years back and we’re just now getting into it. Although Carle’s illustrations are classic and happy, the grouchy ladybug is anything but pleasant. Because of the context, we purposefully put this one away until our girls were old enough to understand the concept of negative people and fighting. I know many parents who don’t love this book, but we have grown to enjoy it and the conversations it conjures.
The story follows a grouchy ladybug as she picks fights with all types of animals, small to big. In the end she lands right back where she started, next to a friendly ladybug who offers to share her meal of aphids with the wet, tired, and hungry ladybug.
Each page of the book has a little clock that speaks to the written time in the book, which is why we feel it’s appropriate for an older audience. After reading the book to my school age girls, we talked about the benefits of being kind and friendly, versus the downfall of being grouchy and mean. We also discussed ways to make a bad day better, and how to overcome those grouchy feelings when they arise. Heavy stuff, I know.
Have you read this book with your children before? What was your reaction?
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.