Will the inhabitants of an anthill constantly under attack by two children find a way to stop the violence?
This is one weird book, but it’s not without merit. The art and text complement each other perfectly, creating a world that evokes Latin American magical realism, the visual distinctiveness of Lane Smith’s art, and the worldbuilding of the movie Antz. At the outset, the cartoon ant pictured on the cover—with mustache, eyebrows, and gold star on his blue uniform—is shown in “the deepest part of the anthill,” which includes ant-proportioned decor such as ceramic urns and a potted plant. Gen. Ant has been performing the task of food storage but interrupts himself when he learns of an imminent attack on the anthill. He sends an order to soldier ants by “sending a special aroma signal that wafted through the many tunnels and caves in the colony.” (Throughout the book, facts about ants are thus interspersed with tongue-in-cheek descriptions.) White-presenting siblings Chloe and Jack—whose large, round, white eyeballs have turquoise irises plopped in the middle like the yolks of fried eggs—make a game of poking anthills and squishing ants. Gen. Ant, a captain, and a flying ant devise a plan to stop the children. Via the flying ant’s subliminal invasion of Jack’s dream, the text becomes suddenly didactic, with an ending so abrupt readers may think an army of ants has removed the final pages. Still, it’s great fun, and its clearly stated message is inarguable.
Trippy ant conservation from Spain. (Picture book. 3-6)