Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Ladybug Who Had No Spots
A children's story 

Author's note: I've been working on this orally with my daughter for a few years, and tonight it seemed like it was finally all coming together. It's a bedtime story, told in the dark in whispered tones, and as such is on its very first draft textually-speaking -- please offer comments and criticism below if you can. License and distribution information follow the story.

The Ladybug Who Had No Spots

Once there was a ladybug who had no spots
And that is a terrible thing to be

Or so she thought
Though her friends said otherwise

But the ladybug was unhappy
And one morning, she spread her wings, and flew

Over mountains and oceans
Over deserts and plains

Until she came to a jungle

And there in the jungle
she met a leopard.

Oh Leopard, said the ladybug

I am a ladybug who has no spots
And that is a terrible thing to be
But you have such beautiful spots
Could you spare some spots for me?

Oh, no, said the Leopard.
I need my spots.

They help me hide in the shadows
When I am hunting my food
So I cannot be seen.

If I gave you my spots,
I would stand out against the trees.

I would be hungry.

So, no, said the Leopard.
I will keep my spots.
I am sorry, Ladybug.

Thank you anyway, said the ladybug
And she spread her wings and flew

Over beaches and shipyards
Over bridges and bays

Until she came to the city.

And there on a busy sidewalk
She met a Dalmation.

Oh, Dalmation, said the ladybug

I am a ladybug with no spots
And that is a terrible thing to be
But you have such beautiful black spots
Could you spare some spots for me?

Oh, no, said the Dalmation
I need my spots.

They help me stand out against the snow and fog
So the fire engine can follow me to the fire
And put it out.

If I gave you my spots I would fade into the city
And the firemen would not know where to go.

Fires would not get put out.

So, no, said the Dalmation
I will keep my spots.

I am so sorry, ladybug.

Thanks anyway, said the ladybug
And she spread her wings and flew

Over houses and churches
Over playgrounds and schools

Until she came to a garden

And there at the entrance to the garden was a rock
All covered with small black spots

But when the ladybug spoke up
Each spot spread its wings
And a hundred flies flew into the air.

Sadly, the ladybug went into the garden
Looking for a place to rest.

And there in the last garden rows
She saw some tomato plants

Each ripe red tomato
Was covered in tiny black spots
Just right for a ladybug’s back.

Oh, tomatoes, said the ladybug
I am a ladybug who has no spots
And that is a terrible thing to be.
But you have such beautiful, black, tiny spots
Could you spare some spots for me?

Well, said the tomatoes,

Our spots tell people that we are not good to eat

But tomatoes are for eating
And we wish to make people happy
With our juices and our ripeness.

So yes, said the tomatoes
Please, take our spots

Thank you, said the ladybug.

And she gathered all the spots she could carry on her back
And flew away

Over countries and continents
Over cities and jungles
Over the world

Until she arrived home

And found all her friends so happy to see her
And so happy that she was happy

That they threw her a spot party.

They played pin the spot on the leopard
And pretended they were fire trucks and dalmations
And spread their wings and flew thick as flies
To a picnic lunch of sweet red tomatoes.

And when the party was over
The ladybug went back to her home

And put every last spot away carefully

And smiled at herself in the mirror

And fell asleep.

I am seriously hoping to shop this around if it continues to come together. If you know any children's book illustrators looking for a project, have contacts at a publishing house, or are a parent or teacher looking for a new story to read with your kid, feel free to use and distribute The Ladybug Who Had No Spots under the following smallprint terms:

Creative Commons LicenseThe above text is copyright 2006 by Joshua Farber, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

In human terms, the above license allows all users to copy, distribute, display and perform the work under the following conditions:
  • You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

  • You must attribute this work in all uses except in the case of home or classroom-based performances where all audience members are under the age of 8.

  • You may not alter, transform, or build upon this work, especially by adding illustrations to accompany the text, except in the case of home or classroom-based illustration and text layout where all illustrators are under the age of 8.

  • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work.

  • Any of these conditions can be waived with permission from the copyright holder.

posted by boyhowdy | 10:42 PM |

Mr. Farber,
You were my Media Literacy teacher at NMH in the spring of 2003. I go to the Naval Academy now and have talked to you online once or twice. Anyhoo, I thought it was cool you still kept this blog going; I decided to revive mine from high school:
Yeah, kickin it old school. Take er easy.
-Colin Raunig
Delightful story!
That is so cute! I would love to see it printed and illustrated. I am sure Willow loves hearing it.
Hey Josh, I just had to post and say I hope things are going well and mention that this is a wonderful childrens story. I hope you can find someone to illustrate it for you. As I was reading, I was imagining all the scenes in a book - it seemed perfect for someone my Niece's age (about 2) and a bit older.
I think this i worthy of print. Maybe slef publish it. I think it would be cute to have Willow illustrate it (if she hasn't already) greta work.
I was really moved by your story, I was really touched at how the tomatoes generously gave up their spots for the poor ladybug. When it is published, I'll be sure to be the first one in line to buy it.
Hi there, Stumbled on your blog as I was looking for tomato references, glad I did, what a lovely story. Why not get actual phtoographs of the animals and creatures featured in the book, then it is also an reference point as well as a moral for sharing. Good Luck Yvonne Young.
I am an illustrator. I just love to draw pictures of children and weather and animals and all.

Your stories sails and sings with all the hopes of childhood in it. i would be glad and honored to be its illustrator.

If I am your sort of artist, that is, I would be glad. And then too, you would have to pay me.

But first, see my type of art. Go to

I have 6 or 7 books of mine on site , but also I have lots of real children's books, I mean books written by children.

Then, go to and see some other same and different pieces of artwork to get an idea of my style.

I do all my drawing directly on the computer with a stylus and all sorts of paint programs. I publish my own books because I know how to do it and I put in my own ISBN numbers. I do this at For me, it is easy and it is free--until I buy one.

My name is Georgia Hedrick and I loved your little ladybug. Little kids love ladybugs too, very much. I don't know why but they do. I taught for 37 years so kids still amaze me.

I live in Reno, NV 89506

My email address is:
and also but gmail doesn't always work for me.

If you liked my work, and chose me to be your illustrator, I would need a contract first.

If you need direct art to be sent to your email address for more decisiveness, you would need to ask. Put the words, LADYBUG ART so I don't erase you as spam.

What a precious story you have! gh

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