Eric Carle first published The Very Hungry Caterpillar
in 1969, fully intending to create a series of interactive creature books for children. The beloved busy spider
, quiet cricket
, and lonely firefly
books followed, but the artist's quest was not truly complete until The Very Clumsy Click Beetle
was born. Carle, who says he'd rather watch a bug attempt to climb over a pebble than join an expedition to Mount Everest, appreciates the small things in life: the Eyed Elator (Alaus oculatus
), to be exact--unremarkable except for that when this beetle falls on its back, it can't roll over to get up. Instead, it will stretch and release a snap mechanism that clicks and flips the beetle through the air, and ideally, back onto its feet.
The very clumsy click beetle has no trouble with the clicking and flipping part, but it does have trouble landing on its feet. The young beetle tries and tries again, encouraged by an ambling turtle, a slithering snail, and a scurrying mouse. Finally, when a curious boy approaches, the beetle takes coaching from a wise old click beetle ("QUICK, CLICK and FLIP!") and succeeds. Children will love the bright, bold, tissue-paper illustrations that tell this story of perseverance, as well as--of course--the unusual clicking sound (emanating from an electronic chip with built-in battery and light sensor) that accompanies this playful book. (Click to see a sample spread. Copyright 1999 by Eric Carle. Permission of Philomel Books.) (Preschool and older) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
At once stark and sophisticated, Carle's trademark collage art fills the pages of his latest Very volume (The Very Quiet Cricket; The Very Lonely Firefly). The author's opening note explains that the persevering click beetle often lands on its back and is unable to right itself. By stretching, it releases a snap mechanism that makes an audible click and flips the beetle into the air, after which it lands on its feetAsometimes. Coached by a wise old click beetle and encouraged by a string of supportive animals ("Better luck next time.... Keep on trying"), Carle's stylized little beetle repeatedly attempts to maneuver himself off his back and onto his feet. The book's never-give-up message registers loud and clear, unlike the "Click" sound that youngsters may well expect each time this word appears as the beetle hurls himself back into the air. Rather, the computer chip (which has a replaceable battery) activates only onceAto emit six clicks, during the beetle's climactic triple-somersault. (But if the reader flips the pages quickly, instead of turning them ceremoniously, unwanted clicks clack out.) Ultimately, the gimmick distracts from the story and does not enhance it. All ages. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.