Summertime is full of adventure, but sometimes it all gets to be a bit much for little folks. If you know someone under the age of five who is more comfortable with a literary excursion than a physical one, introduce them to the Ladybug Girl series by David Soman and Jacky Davis.
The title character is a spunky preschooler named Lulu who loves ladybugs (what preschool girl doesn’t?). Dressed in her signature Ladybug Girl outfit, she discovers that she has amazing superpowers of kindness, determination, helpfulness, and optimism. When she meets a new friend or encounters a new situation she sometimes feels uneasy or afraid, even frustrated. But when she remembers her true identity as Ladybug Girl, she overcomes her insecurities and reaches out to find a solution.
With the family Bassett hound by her side as a trusty companion, Lulu faces a believable scenario and learns a valuable skill in each book. Her family is stable and supportive (admittedly suburban middle-class, which might not resonate with every child) and her parents lovingly allow her to face her challenges with a refreshing degree of autonomy within a safe environment. Lulu is thoroughly endearing, her thoughts and feelings are fun to read aloud, and her development is upbeat and heartwarming.
My own small daughters were gifted the original Ladybug Girl book when it first came out, at a time when a lot of major changes left them feeling shy and uncertain. We read that volume until it fell apart, and eagerly collected each new book as it came out: Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad, Ladybug Girl at the Beach, Ladybug Girl and Bingo and more. I loved the reality of the story plots, the emphasis on imagination and creative play with friends, and the healthy confidence they encouraged. Not overconfidence or rudeness, just positive assertion. My son has devoured these along with his sisters, and now my second pair of girls is running around with wings and antennae. At a stage when getting out and about in the world is so much fun – but kind of scary too – Ladybug Girl is a superhero we can all get behind.
If you liked these books you might also enjoy: Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban