Born Free! Bug Zoo by Lisa Wheeler and Andy Harkness
BEN LOVED BUGS.
TEENY, WINGY, SPRINGY BUGS!
And that's not all! Ben loves insects, in caterpillar and creepy or beetle-y form! He loves arachnids, eight-legged creeping, jumping, and burrowing spiders, and many-legged millipedes and centipedes.
Ben loves to collect examples of as many bugs as he can find. But to collect bugs, Ben has to become a bottle collector, too. He begs for lidded bottles and juggles stacks of jars as he hauls home to house his catches.
Ben also craves to share his affection for creepy crawlers, so he decides to show off his collections for his friends.
BEN OPENED A BUG ZOO AND WAITED FOR FOLKS TO ARRIVE.
NO ONE CAME.
Ben tries adding to his attractions. More bugs! Bigger bugs! Weirder bugs! Still no one shows up to view his exhibits. Then, one moonlit night he spots a big luna moth at his window--a show-stopper with real star quality!
"YOU'LL BE MY MAIN ATTRACTION!" BEN SAID.
But then Ben notices that the moth--and his other collectibles--don't look too perky. He places fresh, green leaves inside their jars, but still they don't look happy. In fact, they look downright droopy and sad, and maybe a little bit claustrosphobic in their little glass cages.
Suddenly Ben knows what he has to do.
In author Lisa Wheeler's and artist Andy Harkness's Bug Zoo: Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase Book (Disney-Hyperion Books, 2016), it's the creepy-crawly version of Free Willie. Ben sets all his bugs free, and he feels good as he watches them joyfully fly, creep, scuttle, and crawl back to nature. But now Ben has two new problems. He still loves observing bugs. And what is he going to do with all those jars! There's just one thing to do, and the final page tells all:
HONEY 25 CENTS
Veteran author Lisa Wheeler has crafted just the right story to set off the Emmy-winning Andy Harkness' illustrative skills. Harkness, a veteran Disney film artist from Pocahontas all the way through Frozen, shows off his Disney-style chops in this book in the Studio Artist Showcase series, a picture book right for young bug fanciers and early childhood education units.
See more of Geisel Honor Award (for beginning reader books) winner Lisa Wheeler's work here.