Hustle Bustle Bugs by Catherine Bailey and Lauren Eldridge

Hello, Catherine Bailey! Hello, Lauren Eldridge! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow is the word I keep coming back to when I think about Hustle Bustle Bugs. Wow! Catherine, what ran through your head or your heart the first time you saw Lauren’s phenomenal illustrations?

Catherine Bailey: The first time I saw Lauren’s artwork I literally shouted. I was ECSTATIC! Her level of detail and creativity is astounding. I could tell that she “got” this book. She intuitively understood that the story wasn’t just about bugs, but also about their environment and interconnectivity. She used a huge variety of materials - many straight from nature, like flower petals! - to create textural, layered atmospheres and characters. I am excited for kids to get inspired and craft their own insects. And I will never look at tinfoil the same.

Lauren, what ran through your head or your heart the first time you read Catherine’s manuscript for Hustle Bustle Bugs?

Lauren Eldridge: I was blown away! Catherine was able to be some sort of author-unicorn by combining a beautiful, sing-song-y, rhyming text with, like, facts. About bugs. Bug facts that I (as a 38yo woman) had never known. How DARE she. It’s like she was showing off and now, maybe, I think she was just showing off. To make a long story (see above) short: I thought, and continue to think, that I would be a fool not to work with such a talented, educated, wonderful person. So I jumped in and here we are.

Catherine, please finish the following sentence starters: 

Hustle Bustle Bugs is a book I did not expect to write because (lowers voice to a whisper) I was scared of bugs. Even ladybugs. And most definitely spiders. My daughters on the other hand LOVE bugs. In fact, they have saved countless itty bitty insect lives from my swatters, sprays and rolled up magazines. So when my home (specifically my Tupperware) became a safe space for all manner of creepy crawlies I kind of *had* to learn about bugs. And the more I learned about bugs, the more I liked them. They are such hard workers! And some have really cute faces. Plus they really help us humans out. I felt they deserved a bright and happy book that showed off their mad buggy skills.

When bugs tippy toe across my porch, or march through my yard, or show up in a glass jar with holes in the top courtesy of my children, I will no longer reach for my swatter. Instead, I will let them hustle and bustle in peace. (I mean, if it’s a spider I’m still going to scream a little…) I will also think about all the awesome book-world people who made my bug-world possible.

Lauren, please finish the following sentence starters:

Everyday objects, wire, polymer clay, and acrylic paint are my illustrative bread and butter. The wire, clay, paint, (and I’ll add foam & latex rubber, etc.) are constant in all of my illustrations.

However, the materials that make each book feel like they should are the everyday objects. The story that I’m working on dictates what everyday objects I will incorporate. In this case, I used plenty of dirt, grass, flower petals, leaves, and more from my back yard because that’s what felt right for Catherine’s beautiful story. It was all about nature, community, and taking a closer look at the insects around us. If this book took place in the ocean, in space, or in a dirty laundry hamper, the everyday objects I’d use to illustrate would be very different!

Deirdre Jones, Neil Swaab, Saho Fujii, Patricia Alvarado, and Marisa Finkelstein are beautiful, perfect, God-sent magicians. Each one of them made this book better at every turn. There were things I couldn’t see that they could, and there were options I hadn’t opened myself up to that they did. I’m so lucky to have collaborated with such great talent. I should also give a solid hug/high-five to Rotem Moscovich and Heather Crowley for giving me the opportunity to illustrate this story in the first place!

Thank you, Catherine and Lauren! 

Catherine Bailey is the author Dinos Don’t Do YogaHarbor Bound, and Lucy Loves Sherman, among others. She lives in Florida. 

Lauren Eldridge is the illustrator of Claymates and Sleep Train. She lives in Texas. 

Look for Hustle Bustle Bugs on February 22, 2022. 

Little, Brown's Description: 

Ready with their magnifying glass, camera, and scrapbook, two young sisters head into nature to discover all the bugs they can. And these critters are hard at work! From carpenter ants chewing up old trees (like builders clearing a construction site) to butterflies spreading pollen (like gardeners planting seeds) to crickets making beautiful sounds (like musicians playing instruments), bugs belong to a busy world just like people.

With amazingly detailed photographic illustrations of realistic creatures and environments—created with coffee grounds, flower petals, foam footballs, and more—and a bouncy, rhyming text, Hustle Bustle Bugs will have young readers looking more closely at the grass, leaves, and trees around them—and appreciating the community they share!


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