Spot-On Playdate: Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman
"I CAN'T WAIT!" YELLS LULU.
"IT'S THE FIRST OFFICIAL BUG SQUAD PLAYDATE." LADYBUG GIRL KNOWS IT'S GOING TO BE PERFECT!
Hostess Ladybug Girl has planned everything to make the Bug Squad have a day to remember. And when they arrive--Butterfly Boy Sam, Dragonfly Girl Marley, and Butterfly Girl Kiki--all are in costume as their super alter egos, with wings and capes and other accoutrements of bugdom in place. Lulu, with her faithful Bassett hound Bingo in tow, takes her friends into her favorite place outdoors and launches into her carefully structured playdate plans. First they must demonstrate their special Bug Squad powers, which they all do with considerable elan. Next on Lulu's agenda is artwork--each member must draw their self-portraits in character as Bug Squad heroes.
Then Mama comes down into Lulu's special grove with the piece de resistance, chocolate cupcakes with a candle for each one to blow out. Ladybug Girl has even that activity already choreographed in her imagination:
"NOW," SAID LULU, "WHEN I COUNT TO THREE, WE ALL HAVE TO BLOW OUT OUR CANDLES AT THE VERY SAME TIME."
Sam and Marley follow through on cue, but Kiki's candle only flickers and then flames back up.
Without thinking, Ladybug Girl leans over and with a strong puff, Kiki's candle is out, too. But then she sees that while Sam is already demolishing his cupcake, Kiki isn't eating.
"YOU BLEW OUT MY CANDLE!" SHE SAYS
"BUT I WAS ONLY TRYING TO HELP! YOU DIDN'T BLOW YOUR CANDLE OUT AT THE RIGHT TIME." LADYBUG GIRL INSISTS.
"WE DON'T HAVE TO DO IT YOUR WAY! I WAS MAKING UP MY OWN WISH."
Suddenly Ladybug Girl has an insight. Just because she has an plan for a perfect playdate, her friends may have their own ideas that deserve respect, too.
In David Soman's and Jacky Davis' latest collaboration, Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad (Dial Books, 2011), Lulu learns that too much control doesn't make for good friendships. This series, which pointedly specializes in imaginative outdoor activities, hits the right spot here in a simple lesson in giving friends space to be themselves in a relationship, an important theme for the preschool reader presented in an easy-going and familiar format.