“Bullaby Bill” tells the story of a special beetle who celebrates the end of summer with his friends. This poem is unique in that the insects are much more than insects and take on human characteristics as they celebrate the harvest moon and mourn the end of summer.
The sweet and melancholy tone of this poem makes it a great discussion starter for talking about the changes in seasons and how there can be a lot of mixed emotions as the long days of summer transition toward the long nights of winter. Teachers and parents should ask children to talk about how they feel about the changing of seasons. How do they feel about the transition from summer to winter? How do the short days feel for them?
For children who live in warmer climates without four clear seasons, teachers and parents could discuss how children feel about this. When I (Crystal) was growing up, I lived in south Florida for a time and loved the summers but always felt sad that we never had any snow in the winter. Do other children feel the same way? Have they ever seen or felt snow?
- Have students draw pictures or write a short paragraph comparing this poem with “The Unwanted Itch Hiker.” How are the insects portrayed differently?
- Use this poem as a starting point to discussion the changes in seasons from summer to fall to winter. What happens to the days? Why does this happen? How does it happen in different parts of the world?
As a class, research the insects in your area and learn what they do for the winter. Which ones hibernate? Which ones die? Create posters for favorite insects that show their life cycles throughout the seasons.