My children grew up with beautiful Eric Carle books in hand. I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? to my daughter 387,000 times. Then there was The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Busy Spider.
My kids grew up, but I did not. Thus, my childish enthusiasm when I pulled La Mariquita Malhumorada (The Grouchy Ladybug), by Eric Carle, out of the padded mailer last week. I spent my birthday money on the Spanish version of this storybook, which should give you great insight into what kind of a person I am. I didn’t even take my coat or shoes off before reading the entire book while I stood at the back door.
Today I will read La Mariquita Malhumorada to my high school Spanish students, and they’re supposed to be looking for nouns and verbs and other such language treasures.
But there are two Spanish words I particularly want them to know.
One is “simpática” (really nice and easy to get along with.)
The other is “malhumorada” (grouchy.)
The grouchy ladybug doesn’t want to share the aphids on a leaf, so he tries to pick a fight and is chagrined when the nice ladybug agrees. He mumbles something about how she’s not a big enough challenge for him to fight, and he flies off to find a bigger challenge.
On and on he goes, challenging everyone to a fight. Bigger and bigger animals acquiesce, but he continues to say they’re not big enough, until he gets to a whale who calls his bluff and sends him flying.
Returning to the leaf, tired and hungry, he humbly accepts the nice ladybug’s offer to eat the remaining aphids.
Here is the question I will pose to my Spanish students today, and maybe it’s a good one for all of us.
Who are you?
Habitually grouchy and picking a fight with everyone in your path?
Or characteristically friendly and glad to share?
(How would your family or your coworkers describe you?)
Paul says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)