Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Grouchy Ladybug: Story time themes: Insects, Summer, Humility, The Golden Rule, Manners, Telling Time

Title: The Grouchy Ladybug
Author/Illustrator: Eric Carle
Word Density: Low to Medium
My Recommended Age-Appropriateness: Preschool to 8


In this Eric Carle classic, a ladybug (or ladybird, or ladybeetle, depending on your locale,) gets up on the very wrong side of the rose petal. Determined to pick a fight with every obliging creature it runs into, the poor ladybug moves through its (notice its gender is undefined) day, hour by hour, and finds absolutely no contentment. What it doesn't realize until the very end is that happiness is a state of mind; the ladybug chooses to be grumpy, and so grumpy it is. The silly bug challenges progressively bigger and scarier and more powerful animals (and even a giant whale's fin, in a moment of final desperation.) Finally, getting what it asked for, the ladybug lands right back where it began its dreary day. In humility, the ladybug learns how to be accepting, pleasant, and friendly at last. Carle's vibrant illustrations, the exciting cut-away design of the book, and its progression showing an analog clock moving through the hours of a day, all combine to keep this classic story a vital part of any preschool classroom or storytime session. It compliments other books carrying the same themes of grouchiness, bad days, and bad manners, such as A Pig's Book of Manners, by Nicholas Allan and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst.

Pick and choose among the following themes, Bible verses, and songs to create a lesson that best ties in with your current theme or objective:

Christian Themes:

1. Humility.
2. Being a good neighbor.
3. Treating others like you would like to be treated.
4. Do not think more highly of yourselves than you ought to.

Preschool Themes:

1. Grouchiness.
2. Manners.
3. Being nice.
4. Insects.
5. Telling time.

Scripture Connections:

1. Romans 12:3 "I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you." (CEV)

2. Matthew 23:12 "Whoever makes himself great will be made humble. Whoever makes himself humble will be made great." (NCV)

3. Luke 6:31 "Treat others just as you want to be treated." (CEV)

4. Matthew 22:39 "And the second command is like the first: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself." (NCV)

Song Connections:

1. "The Selfish Song," by Veggie Tales.

2.  "Telling Time," by Jennifer Fixman, "We Love Math With Miss Jenny."

3. "Show Kindness Every Day," from Jack Hartmann's "Counting Piggy Tails - Better than Counting Sheep."

4. "Living In Harmony," by A Capella Kids.


If you use this lesson during the Spring or Summer, take the children outside and try to catch ladybugs. Place the caught specimens in a bug viewing container and let the children study them, using magnifying glasses and sufficient light. If no ladybugs are to be found, provide a library table with lots of nice glossy books about ladybugs for the children to peruse.