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Reviewed by Kristie Ingerto for Readers' Favorite
"The Ugly Bug Ball," written by Michelle Burns and Dr. Anissa Freeman and illustrated by D.S. Edwards, is a book that is filled with beautiful illustrations and a fantastic story about not judging others, cliques, bullying and courage. Stanley Stinkbug lives in a garden, a beautiful, well-maintained garden that is filled with bugs, both pretty bugs and ugly bugs. Stanley will watch and daydream about Remy Red, the red velvet ant, yet he has not worked up the courage to talk with her as he is a stinkbug and has an odor to him. When Stanley sees other bugs setting up for the ugly bug ball, Stanley is told by Prissy Prey, who has placed herself in charge of the ball, that he is not invited due to his stench. Will Stanley allow someone to keep him from attending or will he stand up for himself and go against the bully or will he stay home?
I loved this book! The story is great to share with children and I enjoyed it myself. There is such a great message shared and the writing is filled with descriptions and emotions so that it was easy to relate to the bugs and how they were reacting and feeling. Children will be able to relate to the bugs' emotions and also their interactions with each other as they mirror the usual interactions that children have with their peers each and every day. This would be a great book to use in a small group or classroom setting and be a starting point for so many discussions and projects focused on bullying, self-esteem, cliques and emotions. I would love to see this book become a part of a series which take up other issues that the bugs are faced with and must work through.