Niko is the captain of his very own spaceship. He built it all by himself.
“Actually, he’s the most beloved dog in the universe – and this is just the boy to take care of him.”
–Spike, the Ugliest Dog in the Universe by Debra Frasier
The Ladybug Girl books are wonderful. I highly recommend reading Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow to children of any gender because the story is about setting a goal, facing a challenge and not giving up – and climbing giant piles of snow with your dog. When I read Ladybug Girl to the children in my life, the boys were completely entranced by the story because they could relate to the adventure Ladybug Girl was having. Yes, it’s a girl in a snow suit modified to look like a bumblebee costume, but she’s climbing giant piles of snow with her dog.
As far as the children are concerned, Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow is about a kid facing kid-challenges; not about a girl doing girl-things – just something for the adults to think about.
When I found out about the Bumblebee books, I decided to take a look at both the origin of Bumblebee Boy in Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy; and his solo adventure in The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy.
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
Of the two Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy was more popular with the children because it describes the resolution to a playground conflict that the kids understood personally.
Lulu (Ladybug Girl) and Sam (Bumblebee Boy) meet at a local park and want to play together but they can’t agree on a game, toy or section of the playground. Sam doesn’t want to do what Lulu wants to do and Lulu doesn’t want to do what Sam wants to do. This leaves both children frustrated and angry with each other. That’s when Lulu asks Sam to play Ladybug Girl and explains that ‘Ladybug Girl’ has superpowers.
Superpowers? Now Sam is interested. Sam happens to be wearing a yellow and black striped shirt, so they decide he shall be Bumblebee Boy and proceed to proceed to save the world from monsters. Quote:
Feeling rather proud for saving the playground and probably the whole town, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy decide to have a parade on the bouncy dinosaurs. It is a very important celebration. A crowd gathers to watch the parade. people cheer and throw flowers at them.
That’s when Kiki and Marley want to join in but another conflict starts up as the girls start to argue over who gets to be Butterfly Girl vs Dragonfly Girl. At this point, as the reader, I’m beginning to think the book is getting a bit long – but the children were entirely engrossed in the story. In the end the conflicts are resolved and all four children develop a new game called BUG SQUAD!
Through comments made during the story and conversation afterword, I got the sense that the kids saw a very accurate portrayal of the conflicts they face in their day-to-day lives. In other words – this story is real.
Was also very popular with the children in my life, but it was less popular than Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy because the story describes a very familiar conflict between children, but the resolution is a little less comfortable.
In this story, Sam (Bumblebee Boy) wants to play Bumblebee Boy by himself but his little brother, Owen, wants to join in. Sam keeps telling Owen no and moves to another part of the house to play alone – until Owen finds him and tries again. Both sides of this conflict are very familiar to children and the resolution in the story consists of Sam deciding he’s done playing alone and goes in search of Owen.
I suspect the reason why this story was slightly less popular with the children in my life is because there was nothing Owen could do to make Same want to play with him – and nothing Sam could do to make Owen want to play alone. it ends well, but it doesn’t have the same magic conflict resolution suggestion as Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy. Quote:
“Do you want to play Bumblebee Boy with me? asks Sam. “I’m fighting aliens!”
“No, I don’t want to fight aliens,” says Owen. “Am playing bank robber monsters.”
“Bank robber monsters,” says Sam. “What game is that?”
“Is this!” says Owen.
“Oh,” says Sam. He thinks for a minute. “You know, Owen,” says Sam, “there are bank robber monsters in fighting aliens too.”
“Really?” says Owen.
“Yes,” says Sam. “So will you come fight with aliens with me?”
- Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow
- Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy
- The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy
“We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths.”
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
“Maxie paid very little attention to Marcia. He didn’t bother to get out of her way or take any notice of what she said because, in his wolfhound way of looking at the world, Silas was Top Dog and Marcia was right at the bottom of the pile. Happily for Marcia, these finer points of Maxie’s inner life had passed her by…”
–Sally’s Great Balloon Adventure by Stephen Huneck
“She had been rescued from the broken spaceship and taken far away from the lonely life she had known by a loving family that she had always dreamed of finding.”
–Laika Astronaut Dog by Owen Davey
Author’s Note: On November 3, 1957, Laika became the first animal to orbit Earth when she was launched into space in the Sputnik 2 rocket.
A few hours later, Laika‘s spacecraft malfunctioned. Though many think she perished, this story, with its happy ending for the brave little dog, is the one I choose to believe.
“Sam,” says Gram, “you picked a pup!”
Sam says, “We’re meant to be.”
Now Sam knows the trick’s who picks – “Gram, this pup picked me!”
Note: I was not able to locate this book within one of my affiliate programs, so I’ve included this adorable dog in a butterfly costume. (Chuckle)
“Roly Poly, very small
not so frightened after all.
Sometimes new things can be fun
when you’re not the only one.
Roly Poly, very small,
feeling better, feeling tall.
So much to see, so much to do…
So much nicer when it’s two!”
–Roly Poly Pangolin, by Anna Dewdney
In the spirit of friendship, here are a few links:
- Library Dogs
- National Service Animal Registry, Emotional Support Animals
- PBS.org, The Laws of Friendship
In honor of Pangolins, here are a few more: