Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
For ages 4+
It's the final book club for my Year 1 & 2 children this week before the Easter holidays, and what an amazing picture book choice to finish on!! Such a treat!!! Plus, today is also book gifting day. At the end of each full term the children are gifted a book curated by myself, wrapped and presented at the end of the session. This term I chose books by Harriet Muncaster, Pippa Curnick, Holly Webb, Cara Matheson , and more. I love gifting books so so much.
Murray and Løvlie joined forces last year to publish their first joint picture book 'A Dress With Pockets' (Macmillan), also an empowering girls gorgeous story about a girl who loves exploring and collecting items from nature... leaves, flowers, whatever she forages and instead of a frilly pretty dress - actually a dress with lots of fabulous pockets is really what she'd love! My review at the time of publication is posted here.
About the book
This absolutely beautifully illustrated story by two of my favourite children's picture books creators doesn't disappoint - in fact it has surpassed my expectations. Not only does the front cover make the reader want to dive into the book title wording to join in with the floral and bug-tactic garden exploration, but on opening the front cover the reader gasps with awe at the beautiful end papers. Løvlie has created artwork featuring all manner of colourful and cute bugglies, from ladybirds to bees to butterflies to caterpillars and more.
Evie's story is voiced by Murray in expressive verse throughout the book. Delicately placed stanzas are featured on page in fun and imaginative ways that tie in with the emotions of the characters and the illustrations.
From the story and the illustrations, the reader learns that Evie has a loving family unit with two mums and a brother. One of Evie's mums is of colour as is her brother. I have to say that my lovely book clubbers nowadays have such a natural sense of inclusion and a gentle knowingness about LGBTQ+ and blended families; for some of the children this will be down to the selection of books we use in book club together with the discussions we have, and for others they are seeing elements of their own family life outside of school represented in the story. It's a wonderful thing.
Evie's such a bright spark, she's determined and passionate about her LOVE for bugs. Whilst on a picnic with her mums and brother she's off exploring the flower beds and tree trunks for what crawlies and worms she can find and look at with her magnifying glass. All the usual expressive words for distaste of such creatures like 'scary', 'slimy' and 'dirty' are used to describe how everyone in the family, except Evie, feel about them. What's more, It turns out there's a big family gathering at the house and they've all got to get home ASAP. Evie is having so much fun, she doesn't want to leave her precious bugs.
Resourceful Evie has an idea!! Lovely readers, I don't know about you, but if my two little darling children decided that there were so many exciting bugs to look at and touch outside and not enough time, that they needed to bring them indoors in whatever receptacles they could find, THEN they escaped throughout the house whilst they were asleep, I'd probably take Evie's mums' approach too... shock, horror, panic!! I admire and respect bugs, want to protect them, however, there are a few species I'm a bit squeamish about... am I alone?
I have to say, the children love a story where everything goes a bit pear-shaped for the adults. They love to giggle at mayhem and chaos, especially when the child character in the book is absolutely delighted at the result. Tee hee. We had lots of fun pouring over the hilarious double spread scene of the extended family all covered in the contents of what could amount to an entire entomologist's life's career collection of bugs!! Evie is loving it... but what's even more exciting is what comes next... and guess what, I'm not going to tell you what it is!! You'll need to borrow or purchase the book to find out... it's soooo cool.
Throughout the story, the children in book club were mesmerised, and I had to contend with many a hand shooting up in the air to tell me their bug stories. The story also leads discussion at the end around what the children would like to be when they grow up. We didn't have many explorers like Evie, but it was lovely to hear how diverse their ambitions are and how passionate they are about their futures.
My lovely readers, you will also be delighted to know that aide from some tips of how you can 'show bugs some love', there is a dedication to Evelyn Cheeseman inside the back cover. 'The Girl Who LOVES Bugs' was inspired by the life of entomologist, Lucy Evelyn Cheeseman (1881-1969) OBE who led expeditions and collected around 70,000 specimens for the Natural History Museum... find out more: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/lucy-evelyn-cheesman.html
What an inspirational picture book, truly wonderful and well worth the wait. In the wise words of best-selling children's author, Lily Murray: "Curiosity leads to adventures..."!!
Here are a few pages for you to enjoy before purchasing or borrowing the book ...
... and here's a small section of the stunning end papers (I'd totally wallpaper a room with this design)...
I knew that the children would love this idea.... filling up a bug hotel with insects, worms and more. They drew gloriously colourful ladybirds and butterflies, and included earwigs, bees, and so much more! Some even created rainbow patterned beetles. It was so much fun! If you'd like to have a go too, please enjoy using my free activity sheet after you have read the story.
Download my FREE activity sheet
About the creator
Lily Murray (author)
Lily Murray grew up in the wilds of snowy nowhere, spending much of her time making up stories. She has continued to do this in her adult life, and now writes both fiction and non-fiction books for children. Her titles include: Dinosaur Department Store and Hello Hotdog, Monet's Cat and Dinosaurium. For Macmillan she has collaborated with Julia Woolf to create Mr Badger's Christmas Wish and Little Bunny's Easter Surprise, as well as A Dress With Pockets with Jenny Løvlie.
Jenny Løvlie (illustrator)
Jenny Løvlie is an illustrator and bird enthusiast from Ekkerøy in northern Norway. Drawing was always her favourite pastime and after graduating with a BA in Illustration and Animation from Kingston University 2014, now also her job! Her style is bright and colourful with lots of texture, plants and animals. She draws a lot of inspiration from the Arctic landscape, flora and fauna. Jenny is based in Cardiff .
Grab a copy
Buy here through my affiliate link at Bookshop.org or purchase from your local independent bookshop...
Publication date: 30 March 2023
Also by Lily Murray and Jenny Løvlie (more titles by each of these creators are available on my online store):
Please feel free to check out my review of 'A Dress With Pockets' here:
Please like this post and leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!