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ARMY ANT PARADE by April Pulley Sayre


by April Pulley Sayre & illustrated by Rick Chrustowski

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8050-6353-6
Publisher: Henry Holt

Sayre (Shadow, below, etc.) finds more wonder than menace in the march of army ants across a tropical rain forest’s floor, noting that they only forage when there are larvae to be fed, and cataloguing some of the wildlife that takes advantage of what is fleeing the voracious columns. “Lizards skirt the edges, grabbing fleeing insects. Butterflies drink droppings antbirds leave.” In Chrustowski’s (Bright Beetle, 2001, etc.) clean-lined paintings, those columns look as solid as lava flows from a distance, resolving in the foregrounds to black and orange individuals ready to seize any insect or other small animal too unwary to flee. “A frog is caught in the swarm and hops too late.” “A mother bird peers out from her cozy nest. Her chicks can’t fly. And ants are climbing closer . . . ” But the ants are not—the author claims—going to climb a human observer’s boots. Children may still prefer to appreciate army ants from a safe distance—and these pages are a fine way to do that. (afterword) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-8)