The Bad-Tempered Ladybird

Written by Eric Carle

For ages 0 to 5

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This book is best for:
  • concept of size
  • concept of time
  • sequencing
  • manners
  • prosocial behaviour


The Bad-Tempered Ladybird or The Grouchy Ladybug, depending on the version of the book, is about a very moody ladybug who picks a fight every hour with increasingly larger animals. Eventually, it meets a whale who slaps the ladybird with its tail sending it all the back to where it started. The ladybird learns its lesson and realises that life is much more fulfilling when you’re in a good mood!

The book cleverly represents size through pages getting increasingly bigger as the size of the animals increase. The blue whale’s tail is cut out and takes up a page in itself, so that when the page is turned, it represents the slapping motion. This really makes the book come to life and helps children with comprehension difficulties to better understand the story. The Bad-Tempered Ladybird can also be used to teach time, manners and appropriate social behaviour.

See the list below for further possible speech and language targets.

Book Details

Narrative Structure: Reaction Sequence

Story Plot: Character Flaw ; Repetitive Tale

  • animals - insects / mini-beasts
  • size
  • time
  • manners
  • temper
  • sharing

Speech and Language Targets

Speech Sounds:
  • /b/ - bad, big, ladybird,
  • /f/ - fight, fireflies, fin, leaf, off
  • /l/ - ladybird, leaf, lobster, gorilla, elephant, whale, tail
  • /l/ blends - flew, clock
  • /s/ blends - stinger, stag-beetle, snake, sparrow, skunk
  • adverbials (sweetly, eerily)
  • adjectives
  • comparative (bigger)
  • conjunction (and, but, so)
  • subjective pronouns (it, you)
  • objective pronoun (them)
  • possessive pronouns (mine)
  • reflexive pronoun (itself)
  • possessive nouns
  • regular past tense
  • irregular past tense verbs (saw, flew, said)
  • labelling
  • identifying parts
  • descriptive (big, little)
  • location (around, left, right)
  • quantity (many)
  • temporal (morning, day, night)
  • greeting / farewell
  • initiating conversation
  • manners
  • sharing
  • character description
  • time
  • sequencing
  • initiating event
  • dialogue
Book Info

Published by Puffin Books in 2009 (ISBN: 9780141383507)

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