Linda Ashman

children's book author, mom, wife, writing instructor, animal lover, gardener, vegetarian . . .


"Desmond is usually a well-behaved little boy -- that is, until his house undergoes an infestation of the Naughtybugs. After a visit from the Whineys sends him into time out, the situation seems perfect for a Snarly invasion. Luckily, Desmond and his parents are ready for it, using fun as the perfect repellent. A lighthearted look at bad behavior with the most understanding parents in the world." Kirkus

"A clever take on a subject that can be as snarly for parents to deal with as it is for children, this book shows that bad behavior isn't always deliberate; sometimes emotions just get the better of kids -- and, to Ashman's credit, even parents. Illustrator Anik McGrory depicts the bugs as mischievous but also rather cute and endearing -- just as kids can be when they're trying hard to be good, only to crumble into a tantrum. The next time your child falls apart, take a deep breath. Then tell him that some grumbly bugs are nipping at the ears. That might just get a giggle from both of you!" Rocky Mountain News

"Desmond is usually a 'sweet boy' who tries to llisten to his parents and be good, but when the Naughtybugs show up--look out! Ashman delivers a lively tale with some sparkling descriptions and dialogue, while McGrory's charming illustrations add a whimsical touch." School Library Journal
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Illustrations 2006 by Anik McGrory. With permission of Dutton.

Author's Note

Desmond was a sweet boy . . . usually. Most days, he hugged his mom and dad, patted his dog, Buster, and got ready for school on time.

He hardly ever left his toys on the stairway and was always willing to help fix a drippy faucet or water the gardenias.

Desmond tried to be good all the time. And most of the time he was. But when the Naughtybugs showed up, it was hard to be good. VERY hard. And you just never knew when they might show up.

I wrote this story when Jackson was about four years old. Like most kids this age, Jackson struggled with "impulse control" (as the parenting books so nicely phrase it). He WANTED to be good, he TRIED to be good, but there were just so many temptations! When he did slip up, he often said "I couldn't help it!", and to some extent this was true. It's as if forces beyond his control took over and compelled him to do things he knew he shouldn't. I decided to call these forces the Naughtybugs.

I wanted to show a generally good, sweet, boy wrestling with the sorts of behaviors -- dawdling, squirming, whining, etc -- that are so common at this age. I wanted to give children a way to name those behaviors so they could recognize them and discuss them more easily with their parents and teachers. And, most of all, I wanted to make children AND adults laugh, because laughter has a magical way of dispelling tension and frustration.

Although Jackson is older now, and much better at controlling his impulses, he still cracks up when Desmond pulls that apple, crawls out from under the restaurant table, and splashes his ducky in the water. I hope this book has the same effect on other children (and their parents and teachers) who struggle with the Naughtybugs on a daily basis.

Anik McGrory has taken a very creative approach to illustrating the Naughtybugs. For more information about Anik and her books, click here.

Teaching Themes: naughty behavior, impulse control, humor, parenting, imagination. Download teaching ideas below:


Brand New
"A go-to source of calm and comfort." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In Print
"Altogether delightful." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Excellent advice in a sweet and easy-to-swallow package." KIRKUS
"A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp." Starred review, KIRKUS
"Ashman's concept is both sophisticated and delightful." KIRKUS
"Beautifully crafted and satisfying." Starred Review, BOOKLIST
"Kids will love the colorful paintings while parents will appreciate that it's chock full of facts about the Centennial State." VAIL DAILY
A "lovely reverie on the joys of being alive and being loved." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"As pithy and clever as Ogden Nash at his best." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A splendid bedtime fantasy." KIRKUS
Other Titles
"Ashman's poetic portraits are packed with lots of tasty assonance and alliteration." Starred Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Quirky, sarcastic, and rather educational, too." BOOKLIST
"A 10 on the "aw"-inspiring scale." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"A family outing gone hilariously awry." BOOKLIST
"A rip-roaring, exciting excursion." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
An "enchanting ride." PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"The clever, rhyming text bounces along with perfect cadence." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A riotous adventure." HORN BOOK MAGAZINE
"Vibrant, playful text . . . excellent for storytimes." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"A hilarious look at the world through the sharp eyes and nose of a dog." SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE
"This one's a keeper." SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
"Youngsters will find nothing but comfort in these pages." KIRKUS
"Ashman captures the non-stop action in rollicking rhyme." KIRKUS
A "captivating collaboration." Starred Review, KIRKUS
"A lighthearted look at bad behavior." KIRKUS
Wagmore is "a charming, gentle hero." KIRKUS REVIEWS