THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER by Amy Lowry Poole

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER

adapted by , illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

Aesop’s fable gets a Northern Chinese setting in this stiffly formal version. As the ants, “mindful of the winter to come,” work “to secure their home against the impending cold and snow,” Grasshopper idly enjoys watching the activities of the Emperor and his court--and so is caught flat when the court suddenly moves away to its winter quarters, and the ants too disappear. The tale thereupon ends abruptly, with neither the moral nor Grasshopper’s fate made explicit. The illustrations are also sketchy, reduced to essentials. Though Poole (How The Rooster Got His Crown, 1999) sets this in the Imperial Summer Gardens, near which she lived for four years, backgrounds are suggested with, at most, a few brushstrokes. Similarly, patterns on the court’s robes are indistinct, as are the courtiers’ faces, and for a garden, the visible landscapes look surprisingly bare. Grasshopper himself is rendered in a stylized way, with a flexible, mantis-like neck, human eyes, and legs that seem to migrate along his body from scene to scene. Poole uses traditional Chinese brushes and techniques here, and judging from the visual result and the appended note seems more focused on the technical exercise than the story. Still, children will get the point, as well as a ground-level glimpse of a vanished way of life, and picture book versions of the fable are rare. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2000
ISBN: 0-8234-1477-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2000