Follow the Leader
by Gina Sano

"I followed the itchy grubs...Left.Right.Left.Right."

The author spins a tale of a young child helping her father in the garden and observing itchy grubs marching in a line. The grubs then change their route when they encounter obstacles. It is a feel-good, adorable story. Sano's book encourages kids to play in the soil. Shouldn't most kids, most of the time, be encouraged to play in the dirt? Children will also be intrigued by some bugs' cooperative and quirky habits–think ants, trailing in perfect formation across the ground, carrying crumbs. Families or teachers can use this book as an excellent jump off point to start a game of cooperative play where children emulate those silly grubs.

The author uses rhythm and simple language in her writing, making it fun for readers and listeners alike. Kindergarten classes will love the repetition and enjoy teachers reading to them. Second graders will feel accomplished by reading the book themselves. Additionally, the illustrator, Shenker de Leon, draws simple black and white pictures that might inspire little artists. Drawing and coloring bugs and worms is creative, open-ended play for any age.

Perhaps the best feature of this children's book is that it can easily integrate with simple math lessons or physical education. The kids, with a little prompting, will march to the repetitive sequences, practicing left and right and counting the bugs lined up across each page. Because itchy grubs are Australian and unfamiliar to most American children, inquiring about them can launch the adult reader seamlessly into a geography lesson, too. Physical education, geography, math, art, and entomology can all be included in a lesson that begins with this short, fifteen-page book.

Return to USR Home