Lucious ladybirds (or ladybugs, if you will)

posted in: Sharon King-Chai | 7

lucyladybirdLucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai is a lovely book to share on any day you’re feeling blue. A sweet tale about a ladybird who doesn’t fit in because she has no spots, this story is full of kindness and colour, with a dazzling final spread that will brighten the gloomiest of days.

Lucy Ladybird goes on a search for spots. Her spotted (non ladybird) friends are generous and share their spots with a smile. Lucy returns to her ladybird colony delighted with her new bespottedness. But there’s a problem: Lucy’s spots are not black. What will the ladybirds think of Lucy now? Is there a place for tolerance and acceptance? Fans of David McKee’s Elmer will immediately see the parallels with Lucy Ladybird.

Sharon King-Chai’s book works on many levels; a nice story which explores generosity and how beauty can be born out of difference, with a use of alliteration and repetition that lends the book to creative literacy lessons for slightly older children, whilst younger children will learn about colours, numbers and seasons, as well as friendship.

A free screensaver based on an image from Lucy Ladybird (click to be taken the downloadable screensaver)
A free screensaver based on an image from Lucy Ladybird (click to be taken the downloadable screensaver)

I found the text didn’t quite sing in my mouth when reading it aloud – perhaps it was precisely the alliteration that gave sentences a sometimes slightly clumsy rhythm. But any doubts I had about the text were put to one side because the illustrations are so vibrant. It turns out that King-Chai’s day job is working as Senior Designer at Macmillan Children’s Books: it is clear she definitely knows a thing or two about creating visually stunning books.

An exciting debut, I hope we’ll be seeing more with Sharon King-Chai’s name on the front cover very soon.

M is really excited about sewing at the moment so we set about making ladybird toys out of felt, sequins and beads. First the girls sewed the ladybird spots (ie the sequins and beads) onto an oval shaped piece of red felt.

J sewing on the sequins and beads
J sewing on the sequins and beads

Faces were made out of small pieces of black and white felt, whilst millinery flower stamens (like these) made great feelers.

Then the girls used pipecleaners to make legs (three longer lengths twisted together in the middle, to create six splayed legs), and layered the legs and a little bit of toy stuffing between a bottom layer of red felt, and the top layer on which they had sewn their ladybird spots and face.


Top and bottom were then sewn together. The girls found it very helpful to use a couple of pins to keep everything in place whilst sewing.


Finally, legs were bent so the ladybirds could stand up, and then play commenced!


ladybirdpartygameresultMaking the ladybird toys was a great at-home activity, but I also wanted to use Lucy Ladybird at one of my school story+activity sessions, so I created a game to play with my 30 5 and 6 year olds.

Here are the details:

Aim of the game: To fill your ladybird with the full set of different coloured spots (like in the photo to the left)

Ladybird template
Ladybird template
* Red card, printed with ladybird outline (here’s the pdf file you can use, and if you want an svg file to edit just email me)

* Black pens/crayons

* Set of white sticker dots

* Sets of coloured dot stickers in as many colours as you want

* Way of identifying different “corners” eg mats or flags in different colours

* Music

1. Get the kids to cut out their ladybirds. I’ve put a dotted line on the template to encourage the kids to cut around the ladybird, making it easier for little hands.

2. Have the kids colour the heads of the ladybirds black, and add two white stickers for eyes. If you’ve got the budget, googly eyes would be great to use.

3. Arrange as many distinct “corners” in your room as you have different coloured dot stickers (so if your ladybirds are going to have 6 different coloured dots, you’ll have six “corners”). Identify each corner by the appropriate colour – I used ladybird flags in the appropriate colour (created by printing the ladybird template above onto different coloured card then sticking the ladybirds onto bamboo skewers and standing them in a cup of sand).

My ladybird "flags"
My ladybird “flags”

4. Play minibeast themed music (see below) whilst the children dance around the room. When the music stops, everyone picks a “corner” and stays there till the person who is handling the music calls a “corner”. Every child in that corner get a sticker of that colour. The game continues until the first child (children) have spots of each colour (or a set number of spots) on their ladybird.

I tried this game out for the first time last week and I have to say it worked brilliantly. We had SO much fun we’ll be doing it again this week with another group.

Whilst sewing our ladybirds and playing our party game we listened to:

  • Ladybug Picnic by Elizabeth Mitchell (the Sesame Street version is a little faster if you prefer)
  • Hey, Hey Little Ladybug by The Jumpitz
  • The Ugly Bug Ball by Burl Ives (Lucy Ladybird is most definitely not ugly, but we love this song!)

  • Other activities you could enjoy alongside reading include:

  • Downloading and colouring in the free colouring in sheets created by Sharon King-Chai to go with Lucy Ladybird, or exploring the dedicated website,
  • Making a ladybird cake – here’s a WHOLE pinterest board dedicated to ladybird/ladybug cakes!
  • Decorating your garden with these swirling, twirling ladybugs from Crafts by Amanda, or by painting rocks to look like ladybirds (here are some images to give you some ideas).

  • Other ladybird books we love include What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks, and Carle’s The Bad Tempered Ladybird, but what ladybird books do you love?

    Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book from the publishers. I was not obliged to review the book and I received no payment for this review.

    7 Responses

    1. Rhythm

      Those are some really cute ladybugs that your girls made!! You always have some fun ideas to make books come alive. We have a Princess Ladybug in our family so I might have to find this book! Thanks for sharing!
      Rhythm recently posted..Going Traveling

    2. Zoe

      Damyanti – yes this book is bursting with inspiration for activities – lots of collage-y art could be inspired by it too.

      Thanks Rhythm – the ladybird toys have been a hit. I’d like to make a whole family of them 🙂

      YES Catherine! Do try it – but you must promise to dance yourself – the kids thought my dancing was HYSTERICAL and that definitely added to the fun of the game 😉
      Zoe recently posted..Lucious ladybirds (or ladybugs, if you will)

    3. Ros Yeoh

      Thank you Zoe, I will certainly recommend it to the play therapist in the children hospital

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