STARRED REVIEW
March 22, 2016

Secret lives of creepy-crawlies

By Lisa Moser, illustrated by Gwen Millward
Review by

A lively treat awaits young readers in Stories from Bug Garden, where life is busy buzzing amid an old, forgotten place “with a tumbledown wall and a one-wheeled barrow.” This hidden world is revealed in a series of ultra-short stories (each just a page or two long) about its crawling, flying and hopping residents.

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A lively treat awaits young readers in Stories from Bug Garden, where life is busy buzzing amid an old, forgotten place “with a tumbledown wall and a one-wheeled barrow.” This hidden world is revealed in a series of ultra-short stories (each just a page or two long) about its crawling, flying and hopping residents.

In spite of such brevity, Lisa Moser's prose packs a mighty punch into each tiny tale, introducing characters like Ladybug, who hates the thought of being a lady and instead likes to run barefoot, make mud angels and whistle through a blade of grass. Horsefly, in contrast, yearns to be true to his name as he imagines his mane rippling and hooves flashing through the garden greenery.

A multitude of small but sweet moments occur among these anthropomorphized creatures, such as the satisfaction shared when Big Ant and Cricket bicker about the best way to pick a peach. There’s ingenious Snail, who transforms trash left behind by “picnic people” into a boat, taking Ladybug and Butterfly out for a sail. And Big Ant brings Little Ant to the annual big show, that spectacular moment when the flowers burst into bloom overhead like a colorful sea of fireworks.

Gwen Millward’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations pop with just the right color combinations, highlighted with a multitude of energetic squiggles and flowery swirls. Earthworm’s brown underground lair provides a vibrant backdrop for a colorful “rainbow of roots,” while Lightning Bug flies through a night sky etched in a shade of rich cerulean blue. Millward’s insects exude smiles and big-eyed expressions that bring these stories to life.

Very young readers will enjoy exploring this out-of-sight world over and over again.

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Stories from Bug Garden

Stories from Bug Garden

By Lisa Moser, illustrated by Gwen Millward
Candlewick
ISBN 9780763665340

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