Twig by Aura Parker
Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760157067
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Insects, Camouflage, School, Acceptance. When Heidi, the stick insect first goes to school, she is daunted by the number of other insects there, but is looking forward to making new friends and learning lots.
But no one can see her. She waves her willowy arms, but even the teacher does not see her. The cockroaches and spiders and stink bugs and mosquitoes all walk by without noticing her. Readers by this stage will have worked out why she is so ill defined: being a stick insect means that she blends into her surroundings, and even Miss Orb, the weaving spider who is their teacher does not see her, hanging her weaving on what she thinks is the hat stand, but it is of course Heidi. Readers will now be calling out to the class to recognise Heidi, and watch as the story unfolds, making Heidi noticed by the group.
And they will not be disappointed, this is a charming story of fitting in, of being accepted by the group, but being yourself at the same time.
The insects gather together bits and pieces to make a weaving and one grabs a twig to put in the frame. But the twig calls out, and people realise that it is Heidi. From then on the class works to make Heidi stand out and not fade into the background, except of course when they play hide and seek. And the audience will be delighted with the solution they come up with.
Soft watercolour and pencil illustrations full of detail with draw in the readers' eyes as they too search for Heidi amongst the myriad of things on each page. The endpapers have a legend asking the readers to identify what is shown, and often numbers appear on the pages encouraging younger readers to count. This book will initiate a great deal of fun and sharing as the tale of camouflage is played out.