The Ant Bully

The Ant Bully

5.0 1
by John Nickle
     
 

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The hard-edged style of the illustrations is reminiscent of William Joyce's work, but execution and concept are original variations on the type of fantasy that transports the central character into an alternative world. It all begins when Lucas, who "wore funny glasses and a strange hat," is hosed down by Sid, the neighborhood meanie. Unable to strike

Overview

The hard-edged style of the illustrations is reminiscent of William Joyce's work, but execution and concept are original variations on the type of fantasy that transports the central character into an alternative world. It all begins when Lucas, who "wore funny glasses and a strange hat," is hosed down by Sid, the neighborhood meanie. Unable to strike back at him, Lucas instead attacks the ants with his squirt gun—and learns a hard lesson when he is forced into the ant colony, diminished in size, tried for his crimes, and sentenced to hard labor. Eventually, he wins the trust of his new companions and returns home. He lands at the feet of Sid the bully, but the reader is privy to what promises to be a triumphant outcome. Nickle has grounded his highly imaginative and very funny fantasy in scientific fact—if not always in scientific reality—as he depicts worker ants defending the colony from wasps and spiders, and drone ants attending the Queen. Adding to the impact is the book's strong anti-bully theme. In short, this picture story has everything: a bright, brassy palette, wonderful comic touches—like the Queen in her bath—and a great story. Bullies of the world, beware, for your punishment may be drawing near!

Editorial Reviews

Mary M. Burns
Lucas is hosed down by Sid, the neighborhood meanie. Unable to strike back, Lucas instead attacks some ants with his squirt gun---and learns a hard lesson when he is forced into the ant colony, diminished in size, tried for his crimes, and sentenced to hard labor. Nickle's highly imaginative and very funny fantasy has everything: a bright, brassy palette, wonderful comic touches, and a great story.
The Horn Book Guide
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Miniature worlds can be big attractions, as the films Antz and A Bug's Life show. Unfortunately, this insect adventure, concerning a boy who mistreats ants, provides no basis for its fantasy plot and evokes little sympathy for its hero. Lucas, who wears a goofy propeller cap and nerdish glasses, suffers the taunts of a tough kid named Sid. After Sid blasts him with a water hose, Lucas gets a squirt gun and does the same to a colony of ants. Alas, Lucas is no match for his would-be victims, who use a magical green potion to reduce him to their size and then sentence him to hard labor. ("Don't you realize how long and hard we work to build what you destroy in seconds?" huffs the Queen, who lounges on a pink chaise, smoking through a golden cigarette holder and nibbling gumdrops.) Once Lucas learns a lesson in community, the ants restore him to his original proportions, then devise a predictable comeuppance for his hose-toting nemesis (shrinkage, of course). Nickle's fine-line acrylic illustrations accent the slender digits and mandibles of the black ants; except for the long-lashed Queen Ant, the identical drones, wasps and spider here are painted in entomological detail. The author credibly anthropomorphizes ant societies, stressing equality and cooperation. Yet the facile conclusion denies Lucas a chance to succeed on human terms. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Lucas's funny glasses and strange hat make him a perfect target for Sid, the neighborhood bully, and, since Lucas can't fight Sid, he tortures defenseless ants instead. Then the ants retaliate, and their queen shrinks Lucas to their size, forcing him into a life of hard labor with the worker ants. When he is given the supreme test of bringing the queen a red Swell Jell candy from his home, the boy shows his true mettle, protecting his partners from being swatted by his father. In gratitude, the queen returns him to his normal size, shrinking Sid instead. With the current popularity of the animated movies Antz and A Bug's Life, this title is timed just right for success, but the book falls short. The message is certainly clear, and Nickle's full-page acrylic paintings are bright, funny, and appealing. The text, however, is only average. The sentences are choppy, lack variety in their structure, and leave out potentially interesting details. Still, since the theme of a bully's getting his comeuppance continues to appeal to youngsters, the story is a suitable additional purchase for those collections in which books such as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's King of the Playground (Atheneum, 1991) are popular.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Kirkus Reviews
Bullies always find someone smaller than they are to pick on, so when Sid the bully picks on Lucas, Lucas bullies ants, drenching them with his squirt gun. An ant wizard shrinks Lucas, who then goes to work with the rest of the ants, hauling leaves, finding food, and fighting off an attack of wasps. The queen ant strikes a bargain with Lucas; if he will bring her a Swell Jell candy, he will be freed. Lucas's mission is successful, and when he returns to normal size, there's a bonus-the ants downsize Sid. Large, colorful acrylic paintings somewhere in the artistic vicinity of Ms. Spider's neighborhood carry the tale; Nickle uses shifting perspectives to accentuate height, creating giants out of children and mountains out of ant hills; these shifts help convey Lucas's own changing attitudes. (Picture book. 4-7) .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780590395915
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/1999
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.34(d)
Lexile:
580L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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Ant Bully 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The students in my class loved the book. I read it aloud to them, then they wrote book reports and did research on real ants. There was a lot of discussion about being bullied and what to do. Then they saw the movie and decided the book was better!!! Hurray for books!