An irascible ant becomes lost in the desert until an upbeat fly arrives.
This ant is mean: “so mean, grapes would shrivel and turn into raisins when he looked at them.” He bosses everybody around, too. So preoccupied with this activity is he, the ant finds himself completely lost in the desert. Ranting and raving, he complains that there’s “no water in this stinkpot place.” A fly lands, and the ant stresses their dire situation, but the cheerful fly’s inexplicably immune to the ant’s histrionics. When the fly removes a pine needle from the ant’s side (not previously visible in the illustrations), the ant suddenly feels different (“good” and “thankful” don’t come naturally). The insects exit the desert in tandem, with the fly forging optimistically ahead and the ant yelling warnings. Ruzzier’s distinctive cartoon illustrations utilize fine black outlines and pastel-hued washes to render the ant and fly with exaggerated facial expressions and body language. With his beady eyes, twisted antennae, snarling mouth, flailing legs, and diminutive red body, the ant certainly looks mean while the larger, blue-green fly with his gossamer wings and goofy, gap-toothed grin appears an affable, unflappable foil against a background of empty desert and open sky. Readers will delight in the silly antics and wacky wordplay of these unlikely companions just as much as they’ll enjoy the conversational, tall-tale voice adopted by the narrator.
A zany, hilarious first in a planned trilogy. (Picture book. 3-7)