Cute as a Bug in a Rugged Shirt and a Pair of Trousers

Here’s another set of nonhuman creatures wearing human clothing.  At first glance, indeed, this pair of shakers appears to be quite completely clothed:

bugsThey seem to be wearing black shirts with white stripes–their shirthood implied by the fact that their hands emerge from the arms of them.  And on top of their shirts are what certainly seem to be the straps of two pairs of pants–red pants with black polka dots on them. The creatures seem to be holding onto those straps like a pair of yacky old cartoon farmers holding on to their suspenders while they gossip about the weather and the evil guv’ment and kids these days.

And yet: look again.  This pair are meant to represent bugs, I think–possibly ladybugs:

ladybugThe shakers have two protuberances emerging from the tops if each of their heads, sort of like ladybugs, and they have shell-shaped wings–again, sort of like ladybugs, although if those shell-like wings or wing-covers are their ladybug-like parts, then what are we to make of their trousers?  Actual ladybugs are black down there, not reddy-orange and polka-dotted like their backs are.

But in any case:  if those things that emerge from their back are indeed something buggily winglike, or something like the coverings of ladybugs, then their pants can’t be pants, for they are of the same colour and have the same dots on them and so must be an integral part of their bug-like bodies. But then, the pants must be pants, because they have straps that go over their shirts.  But then if they are pants, the winglike or shell-like things on their backs must be fake, not authentic bug parts at all, but merely removable add-ons.  They are merely something else pretending to be bugs.  And yet their face are distressingly bug-like–or rather, distressingly like conventional cartoon versions of bugs with semi-humanized faces.

Oh, and I suddenly just now see that I’ve been taking for granted the fact that these supposed bugs do in fact have hands and arms.  And are capable of holding flowers in the hands.

Okay, then so what are these things?  Not bugs, certainly.  But not not bugs, just as certainly.  Amorphous creatures, then, ambivalently existing somewhere in the mysterious space between pure bughood and pure humanity. They are cute as a bug, certainly, at least on the surface.  But having now taken a closer and more observing view of them I have to admit that I’m beginning to find them more than a little disturbing. Like many creepy-crawly creatures who don’t wear pants, they are pretty creepy, and mostly because they may or may not have pants on.

Published by pernodel

Children’s literature critic and author of books for children

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