Michelle Burns and Dr. Anissa Freeman | The Ugly Bug Ball

Read this top-notch review for The Ugly Bug Ball, written by Michelle Burns and Dr. Anissa Freeman.

Five-Star Review 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.

What an interesting story! (Not interesting like you don’t quite know what to say, but interesting like WOW!)

This book had a wow factor weaved into its pages. The story had distinctive characters, internal and external struggles, power shifts, and unexpected heroes. It also had an educational emphasis.

There are so many lessons in this. I’ll just encourage you to read it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

~Kim Teamer for NetGalley

This is a clever little tale about friendship and being true to yourself. Stanley is a Stinkbug who has been made to feel embarrassed and ashamed of who and what he is. Not only that but his garden home has been divided into into two groups, the pretties and the uglies who don’t mix with each other. Stanley is technically an ugly but is not accepted by them because of his stink. He has made friends with the pretties though due to his bravery during a particular incident in the garden.

Mirroring so much that is common in modern society, The Ugly Bug Ball deals with segregation of society and resultant fracturing of societal bonds. It deals with bullying and how sometimes friendships can develop across divides. The main theme, however, is remaining true to yourself and how doing that can give you to confidence to reach out for the things that you really want in life.

This would be a lovely book to help children explore personal, social and emotional issues whether at home or in a school setting as it raises some very important issues in a child-friendly way.

~H. McCormick for NetGalley

On a humid summer day Stanley Stinkbug was thinking about Remy Red, the red velvet ant that lived under the tomato plants in Mrs. Anderson’s garden. He noticed that a lot of the other uglies in the garden were very busy carrying flowers, leaves and such and wondered what was going on. When he asked they just said they were doing something for Prissy Prey, the most bossy preying mantis you have every met. Not believing them he hid and followed them till he saw Prissy giving orders. Now Stanley, like most of the others, was afraid of Prissy so he took a deep breath to control his fear and went down to ask Prissy what was planned.

Prissy finally tells him that they are putting on An Ugly Bug Ball the following night, but he is not invited. He smells bad and they want everyone to have a good time not run away from his smell. His feelings hurt, Stanley flies away. Benta Butterfly, one of the pretties came to him to ask him what was wrong he told her about not being invited because of his smell and the neither were any of the pretties, the ball was only for the uglies. Benta told him that the pretties would find a way to help him so he could go, but it was the loss of the others that none of the pretties were invited because they help to make things fun.

How will the pretties help Stanley stop from giving off a bad smell when he is nervous? Will he ever be able to tell Remy Red how he feels about her? What will happen if he does go to the ball and Prissy Prey finds him there? There is so much going on in this story about how everyone is different and how easy it is to hurt someone with words and actions. Read to find out how Prissy gets her comeuppance. My nieces and nephews loved this story and it helped them tell how sometimes their feelings were hurt by hateful words. It also taught them to be more aware of what they say to others. With the beautiful illustrations it is a story to captivate the attention of young readers.

~DelAnne Frazee for NetGalley

“The Ugly Bug Ball” is more than just a picture book. It’s an important lesson about inclusion and bullying. Told through the view of an insect community, this story is easy for kids to connect to their own experiences or those of others. I appreciate that this book has a substantial amount of text. It’s great practice for emerging readers, at 30 pages. The illustrations are crisp and bright, and there is great detail in the insects faces. The images aren’t overly complex, and don’t detract from the story. I would absolutely recommend this book. I think it would be especially helpful for a child dealing with bullying or as a tool when discussing bullying with groups.

~Lena W. for NetGalley