PW called this backyard adventure "a romp of a tale with a surprise ending. Besides enjoying this roguish adventure, children should pick up a fair amount of insect knowledge." Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Using precisely-cut paper collage illustrations, this story presents the close-up ant world tracked by a junior safari explorer. The ants are in a hurry to get somewhere and the narrator crawls over rocks, under leaves, and even to the periphery of an ant battle, all to answer the questions of where they are going and what they want. Finally the ant procession ends up at "base camp." The boy is having a picnic on the lawn with his mom and the ants are there. On safari, the boy sees all sorts of insects including a stag beetle, cricket, dung beetle, stinkbug, spider, walking stick, and numerous others mentioned in the text and rounded up on the back pages. Each insect gets a short paragraph of an interesting fact or two and the ant gets its own page of information. The cheerfully-colored illustrations are photographed nearly flat so as to avoid shadow which gives the pictures a crisp, nearly computer-generated look. Young readers will appreciate the imaginative backyard safari and may wish to look for fauna in their own neighborhoods. This hybrid picture book adventure and information book supports learning as well as follow-up fun. 2004, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In this suburban adventure, a young explorer describes his experiences as he tracks an army of ants through "a bug-infested jungle," observing their progress through a magnifying glass. The insects run into some dreadful hazards on their trek-a squadron of fierce red ants, a spider, a toad, and other predators. The safari ends in the child's own backyard, where his mother is waiting with a picnic lunch for the hungry boy and the ants. Barner used cut-and-torn paper and homemade paste paper to create dense, vibrantly colored collages that cover every inch of the spreads. Proportions are maintained by including size clues-a magnifying glass, a ruler, a sneaker, and a pencil. The ants somehow manage to have expression without being anthropomorphized, and the text entertains while it informs. An appendix provides brief information about ants and the creatures they encountered during their journey. This book offers budding entomologists a grand tour of insect life in the backyard, while those who are less bug inclined will enjoy the gorgeous illustrations.-Jane Barrer, Washington Square Village Creative Steps, New York City Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"I was lost in a bug-infested jungle one hot summer day." So begins a young boy's trek as he follows a long line of marching black ants hoping to find his way back to base camp. Encounters with a dung beetle, red ants, a toad, a giant green mantis, and a hairy black spider build suspense and add creepiness. Out of water, famished, and covered with bites, the boy finally hears a human voice declaring lunch is ready-ah ha! that's where the ants were going: to a picnic. The bold shapes and colors of cut and torn paper create a bug's-eye view. The up-close collages focus on the assorted bugs and the first-person voice directed to the reader will engage kids in the safari. A four-page glossary defines 16 kinds of bugs seen in the story. An entertaining presentation of science that's terrific for classroom use and program activities. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)