Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Lucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai


This is a serious site. In fact, in some quarters, it has a reputation for taking things too seriously. Over the past six years, we have posted lots of fun interviews, but we’ve reviewed – in a serious manner – a lot of literary fiction, romantic comedies, art books, middle-grade bestsellers, blockbusters, bonkbusters, YA trilogies, memoirs and poetry collections. Still, one thing we haven’t done is review many picture books, which is a travesty, as there are so many fantastic picture books being published right now.

Naturally, this oversight must be rectified, and so over the next few months I’m going to write about contemporary picture books (since I’ve already covered some of the golden oldies) and I am going to take them seriously, as they are important books serving an important function. If these reviews are not relevant to your interests, feel free to skim or skip them; they will, at least, be fairly short.

First up: Lucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai, which manages to be delightful, while addressing some Big Issues. Imagine yourself a ladybird (or ladybug, if you’re in North America) and you have been born red, without a black spot in sight. What do you do? Well, you go looking for spots, obviously, and you take what you can get.

The book is about uniqueness, differences among peers, and the friendships that endure despite, or even because of, these differences. It is also about sharing, exploring, collecting, adventuring, and this is all dressed up in a straightforward story about a bug.

With the same sort of genius exhibited by The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Lucy Ladybird does some heavy educational lifting in teaching counting, colours and the seasons. And, as well as these things, it offers other more complex lessons: the importance of tolerance, compassion and acceptance.

So far, then, a ringing endorsement and I haven’t even got to the gatefold finale.

A gatefold, I’ve recently learned, is a fold-out that doubles the size of a page. I learnt this because Lucy Ladybird has the most magnificent gatefold imaginable. It is beautiful and mesmerising, and just perfect, really. Much like the rest of the book.

So there you have it: the perfect picture book (and your Word Of The Day is gatefold).

Paperback, 32 pages, Templar Publishing, English, ISBN-10: 1848778686, £6.99.

2 comments on “Lucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai

  1. Jackie
    May 16, 2013

    Now I’m really curious about this gatefold which you praise so highly.
    Lucy looks like a very cheerful ladybug. And I like the idea of making kids open to the idea of uniqueness in such a fun way. Thanks for showing those of us without kids the cute books available for the small set.🙂

  2. Hilary
    May 28, 2013

    I love experiencing my second childhood with your book reviews, Lisa – I am sorry I was born several decades too soon for these books when a child, and so I’ve decided to enjoy them right now.

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This entry was posted on May 16, 2013 by in Entries by Lisa, Fiction: children's, Uncategorized.



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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