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Book Review: Bug’s Trip to the Store by K.M. Groshek

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Don’t you just hate it when you’re in the middle of a pleasant shopping trip and suddenly you spot bugs on the merchandise? It’s especially gross when you see them on the salad bar, isn’t it? Fortunately, in Bug’s Trip to the Store that’s not the kind of bug we’re talking about.

Bug is a yellow Volkswagen who is hungry, so he needs to go to the store to get something to eat. The store, in this case, is a gas station. Bug apparently hasn’t been out much on his own, and a trip alone can be a frightening experience, particularly when there are monster semi’s sharing the road.

Bug’s story is a classic in the same vein as Little Toot and The Little Engine that Could. It’s about being small in a big world and having to do things for yourself. Told in rhyme, Bug’s Trip to the Store is the first book in the Bug’s Adventure series. Author/illustrator K.M. Groshek does a fine job bringing this little-car-that-can to life with vibrant illustrations. The rhythm of the story will appeal to young children who, after more than one reading, will be repeating it back with the reader.

Bug’s Trip to the Store is not just about doing things on one’s own. It’s about facing fears and committing oneself to completing a task, even when it’s not always pleasant. Once Bug gets to the gas station and has a snack, he has to return home. Bug knows that the trip home may be as frightening as the trip to the store, but he has a mantra that I like so much I may adopt: “Aim, Purpose, Arrive.” It seems so much better to concentrate on that positive message than the fear of doing something, and it’s more powerful than “I can do this,” repeated endlessly.

Bug makes it home without a scratch and enjoys the sense of accomplishment he gets from his success. Bug’s Trip to the Store is a tale that conveys that trying — although it might be challenging or scary — leads to success, and through our endeavors we learn.  (It’s not at all surprising that Groshek, in addition to being a writer and illustrator, is also an executive coach and marathon runner.)

Children will find this world of driverless cars entertaining and reinforcing. Adults will not find cockroaches in the lettuce bins.

Bottom Line: Would I buy Bug’s Trip to the Store? Yes. In addition to fanciful stories, children benefit from hearing messages of empowerment. I’m looking forward to the further adventures of Bug.


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