Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis Children's Book Review
Should this book belong in a child's book collection?
The book by author/illustrator David Soman and author Jacky Davis titled Ladybug Girl is already a runaway hit. Recently published by Dial in 2008, this children's book isn't really a nature book about ladybugs. But it is a book about a young child's affinity with and exploration of nature.
Little Mimi the Ladybug Girl wears a bright red tutu, red polka-dotted wellington boots, and a pair of red ladybug wings with black spots everywhere she goes. She begins her day surrounded by a mountain of toys, inside the house, and she's bored and looking for a playmate. Mimi wants her older brother to play with her. Her brother rudely rebuffs her and instead heads outside to play baseball with the other boys his age.
When Mimi follows her brother outside, hoping to join in her brother's game, she is turned away a second time. But then a wonderful thing happens: Mimi encounters a series of delightful distractions in her backyard such as a pond that looks deep and forbidding, but which must be splashed in, and a swarm of industrious ants that must be observed and helped. Mimi helps rebuild a stone wall, and finally sits high in a tree, observing her brother playing below her. Ladybug girl learns that she can find much to do outdoors, and that her day that began with boredom could end with a satisfying series of adventures and explorations outside.
For children, this story is a picaresque romp through the back yard. Young readers will delight with Mimi and her canine sidekick as she uses her childhood "superpowers" to fill a day full of imaginative play in the fresh air, outdoors. For parents, the appeal of Mimi is childhood at its finest. This book is filled with pure discovery, unhooked and unplugged from video games and television, and even unfettered by organized sports. Mimi is an appealing and adorable childhood hero to add to any children's book collection.
- Family Relationships
- Backyard Exploring
- Nature Encounters
- Imaginative Play
Ladybug Girl Artwork
David Soman's illustrations make a well-told story into an instant best-selling children's book. Watercolor and ink illustrations of Mimi show a child that loves to dress up and imagine, but who isn't too frilly. With her arms all akimbo at her side, she stands poised with confidence, ready for her next adventure. Mimi is perhaps even a bit of a tomboy. I think this combination of imaginative girly girl and superhero-like tomboy makes Mimi the kind of empowered young heroine that modern readers enjoy encountering in a children's story. In this regard, Mimi is not unlike Ian Falconer's beloved Olivia the Pig, who stars in her own series of children's stories.
Soman's artful and subtly sophisticated illustrations reminded me of the classic colors and detailing of the illustrations found in the classic A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh stories. The artwork is delft and detailed, down to the blades of grass depicted in the story. The colors in this book are a little more subdued than you would find in children's books like Pink-a-licious, Olivia, or Hilda Must Be Dancing by Karma Wilson, but every picture in this book reflects the beauty of a spring or summer day spent outdoors, and is full of little discoveries.
The art and story of the book Ladybug Girl can be summed up in two words: childhood wonder.
Other Books by David Soman
- Ladybug Girl at The Beach (2010, Dial) This is probably my favorite Ladybug Girl book. In this story, Mimi, her family, and her dog Bingo take a day trip to the beach. Mimi is at first afraid of the water, but finally she begins to timidly play next to the waves. When an incoming wave sweeps away her sandpail, she finally decides to take action to rescue her toy.
- Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy (2009, Dial) Ladybug girl meets her friend Sam at the playground where she and Sam can't decide what game to play. Finally they decide to play...what else but the Ladybug Girl game! While Mimi and Sam are busy playing they are joined by two other girls who want to get in on the fun of playing superhero pretend.
- Ladybug Girl Dresses Up (2010, Dial) This Ladybug Girl book is in board book format and is intended for a younger audience, perhaps early preschool age. Mimi is Ladybug Girl, but she loves to dress up as other things too, including a pirate, a lion, and an astronaut. But when the day is done, Mimi still loves to be Ladybug Girl best of all.
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© 2010 Carolyn Augustine