Ladybug at Orchard Avenue
written by Kathleen W. Zoehfeld; illustrated by Thomas Buchs
2013 (Oceanhouse Media)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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On the leaf of a cherry tree, a ladybug is on the lookout for food. An autumn wind blows the leaf back and forth, forcing her to stick to the leaf with her claws and pads. As the ladybug approaches an aphid, something else sees her as a meal. An ant clamps down on her forewings. Before the ant can get another bite, the ladybug makes her escape down the cherry tree. Having left the ant behind, our heroine must continue looking for food and storing fat for the cold times ahead. Searching for more food on a rose stem, a wren takes a long look at the ladybug before deciding that better tasting food can be found elsewhere. The coloring on the ladybug tells the bird that this is not the menu item she desires. Later, playing dead around a mouse pays off. It also doesn't hurt when you can ooze a stinky fluid to aid your escape. I wonder how that would work to leave suddenly awkward conversations. Having filled herself for winter, the ladybug lands on a windowsill and seeks a place to stay. Not having a standing reservation, she finds a crack in the window frame and crawls in. Sleep will soon arrive and when spring comes, there won't be a bill for her stay!
Ladybug at Orchard Avenue is a narrative that brings young readers into the daily trials of a ladybug. They're cute insects, but their lives are also full of hard work and ever present danger. I like the presentation in this format in that readers are drawn into the story and continue to read to make sure the ladybug survives. It's a good way to present informational text and connect with young readers who may need to be scaffolded into nonfiction. Not everyone can handle a ton of facts so this is a good way to ease readers into the world of information. The back matter presents several more facts to further teach readers about ladybugs.