How alarming is an incorrect drawing assignment?

It’s “just a normal day” in this forest where cheerful insects live in flowers as tall as trees. The schoolroom, inside a tree, has a blackboard and geometry tools. But when students hand in their assigned homework, a drawing of an elephant, the teacher’s so stunned by Ladybug’s picture that her googly eyes roll around in her head—one eyeball up, one down. “What on earth is that?” Miss Dragonfly exclaims. Ladybug replies: “It’s “a giant ball of fluff.” (It looks more like a nonfluffy black scribble, like a knotted ball of twine.) The nonelephant drawing earns Ladybug various outsized reactions: a medical visit to check her hearing; stunned parents who react by spying on her; strange looks from the entire community. The disproportionate reactions don’t seem to be the joke; the message seems merely that a direct question can clear away confusion. Luckily, Aguirre’s zesty illustrations perk everything up. Hilarious yet harmonious visual juxtapositions abound. Insects live atop leaves and under toadstools, yet they have landlines, sinks for brushing teeth, and, amusingly, potted plants. Tiny, crisp, red autumn leaves thrive next to lush, verdant greens; hazy background tree landscapes glow dimly and gorgeously; a beetle’s bodily stripes are sharp while tree bark and snail shells are soft. Firefly wings are delicate lace. Insects’ faces are blue, green, or beige.

A cornucopia of visual textures dresses up a rather obscure story.

(Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: today

ISBN: 978-84-16733-88-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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