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THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER by Rebecca Emberley Kirkus Star


by Rebecca Emberley ; Ed Emberley illustrated by Rebecca Emberley ; Ed Emberley

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59643-493-6
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

In this playful riff on Aesop’s fable, an ant’s load is made light when her spirit is lifted by the grasshopper’s music.

The ant, burdened with a sticky piece of watermelon and weighed down by the thought that her family is depending on her for food, is so tired she can barely take another step. Then she hears MUSIC (emphasized in boldface capital letters) made by the grasshopper and his band. In fact, those first notes leave her positively bug-eyed. Instead of chastising them for playing, the ant is moved by the tune. Gallantly, the band takes to the road in order to march her back to her colony. In an additional, delicious twist highlighting their symbiotic relationship, the ant invites them into her home, where they party—a celebration highlighted in a foldout spread that works both front and back. The text has a distinctly jazzy drawl that begs to be read aloud. The collage art is bursting with pleasingly chaotic, Mardi Gras colors, especially the two spreads depicting ant’s first views of the buggy band. The pacing is masterful, and the inclusion of the foldout page provides a wonderful place to pause and, as the text exhorts, “[l]et the good times roll!”

The Emberleys offer such a joyful, imaginative interpretation of the classic that even the youngest will understand the unstated message to “eat, drink and be merry.” (Picture book. 4-8)