K-Gr 2-In the newest title in the "Giggle and Learn" series, a girl and boy imagine shrinking to the size of ants. Direct, often playful text describes basic facts about ants, such as their physical features and life cycles. Accurate cartoon illustrations add to the lighthearted tone. One full-page drawing shows two ants as they "tap each other with their antennae to share news." Antennae, jaws, and other body parts are clearly identifiable, while subtle facial expressions and a word balloon for one ant inject just the right amount of humor. Well-chosen tidbits, such as elephants' fear of ants, are accompanied by engaging illustrations. The author conveys the variety of ant species with some especially interesting examples such as the trap-jaw ant and exploding ants. The premise of the kids shrinking, then growing back at the end, is not fully explored, but there's plenty of lively and intriguing information, with high visual appeal. VERDICT An excellent choice for younger readers who like animal facts peppered with humor.-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, OR
Ants are always moving, as this comic's insect inhabitants collectively proclaim, and McCloskey's fast-paced narrative stays true to this assertion.
Two children on a playground shrink to investigate an anthill, cursorily revealing myriad ant facts. Ant anatomy, the life cycle of an ant and a colony, the structure and hierarchy of the colony, and an exploration of the four ant senses (touch, smell, hearing, and taste) are covered in one- to two-page spreads, revealing some interesting tidbits of information (e.g., ants hear with their legs). The second half of the anthill tour provides some detail on various types of ant species, such as leaf-cutter ants, trap-jaw ants, and exploding ants. An amusing (and incomplete) list titled "What Ants Eat" is followed by a superfluous reintroduction of the children, again child-sized, which closes the volume. The book's best feature is its illustrations. Painted on recycled grocery bags, the ants are detailed and expressive, making the children (one white-presenting and one black-) seem static in comparison, an impression exacerbated by the clumsy dialogue passing between the two. The facts fare better, although some spreads feel a bit crowded and organization is loose. The brevity of the information revealed may inspire independent research in older readers, which has the potential to yield some fascinating results. Somewhat disappointingly, the title has no bearing whatsoever on the text.
A good-enough gateway to more detailed texts but not on par with earlier works. (Graphic informational early reader. 4-6)