The Ant or the Grasshopper? (Who's Got Game? Series #1)

Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison serve up the first in a series of six illustrated books retelling Aesop's fables for children of all ages. The Morrisons' fresh rethinking opens up these classic tales, pumping life into their often rigid morals.

In The Ant or the Grasshopper?, the Ant (Kid A) and the Grasshopper (Foxy G) are hip urban buddies who hang out in the park, shooting hoops and grooving on the music Foxy G makes with his wings -- until the ...

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2003-06-03 Hardcover New HARDCOVER, INCLUDES DUST JACKET-STORE DISPLAY ITEM, UNREAD NEW, NICE, CLEAN & COMPLETE PAGES & COVER.

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison serve up the first in a series of six illustrated books retelling Aesop's fables for children of all ages. The Morrisons' fresh rethinking opens up these classic tales, pumping life into their often rigid morals.

In The Ant or the Grasshopper?, the Ant (Kid A) and the Grasshopper (Foxy G) are hip urban buddies who hang out in the park, shooting hoops and grooving on the music Foxy G makes with his wings -- until the weather starts to change, and Kid A decides it's time to get ready for the winter. But when the snow comes, Foxy G's wings won't make music any more. Will Kid A let him inside?

Pascal Lamaître's illustrations perfectly capture this hip, laid back pair of insects, and what happens when their values make them part ways.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, her son Slade, and illustrator Pascal Lemaître -- the team who brought you The Book of Mean People -- band together again for a contemporary take on Aesop's fable about the ant and the grasshopper.

All summer long, carefree Foxy G has been making wonderful music with his wings, while industrious Kid A has spent the time preparing for winter. When a hungry and tired Foxy G shows up at Kid A's during the winter, the ant cops an attitude, telling Foxy he's wasted his time "on those funky wings," making him "feel like a jerk," and not letting him inside. But Foxy stands up for himself. "I'm an artist, that's what I do!" he says, claiming, "Art is hard work. It just looks like play." By the end, the two quarreling insects haven't reached a solution, but Foxy gets the last word. As he takes off in the snow, he asks this provocative question: "Name, fame, blame, shame -- the question is: Who's got game?"

This first installment of the Who's Got Game? series is narrated in a hip, streetwise voice that departs from the typical tone found in picture books. Illustrated with Lamaître's urban-sweet comic-strip frames, the Morrisons' feisty retelling of the classic tale will set readers to wondering if Kid A (the ant) really should be so moralistic about hard work and if the music created by Foxy G (the grasshopper) just might deserve more respect. Whether readers agree with Kid A or Foxy G, this balanced argument will at least get them thinking about the role of art and creativity in their lives. Matt Warner

Publishers Weekly
Aesop's freewheeling Grasshopper and industrious Ant become "Foxy G and his ace Kid A" in this witty, hip-hop-inspired update by the Morrisons and Lemaoetre (who previously teamed up in The Book of Mean People). In comic-book panels and voice bubbles, snazzily hand-lettered by the illustrator, the friends rhyme and loaf in a Brooklyn-esque bug city. Kid A, a slouchy orange insect, loves hanging out and shooting hoops with Foxy G, a talented singer who rubs his gray wings to make music. But "one hot day/ as they lay in the shade/ Kid A turned to his friend and said:/ Got to split, Foxy. The summer's been fun./ Time to dump this place, get back in the race./ There's a lot of work to be done." Foxy thinks creativity is more important. "I have to groove, move, prove, disprove," he brags as Kid A leaves. Kid A dances to Foxy's tunes while he does his chores, but when winter comes, he munches a doughnut while Foxy begs for a crumb. "I quenched your thirst/ and fed your soul/ you can't spare me/ a doughnut hole?" Foxy asks in disbelief. He makes a case for the artist's role in society, but at the ambiguous conclusion, he still shivers in the snow. The authors wisely leave it to readers to answer the title question. Similarly, in the revised fable Who's Got Game? Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Appearing in graphic format, this updated version of the fable features Kid A, a hardworking ant, and Foxy G, a musical grasshopper. Kid A did his chores, shopped in the stores, fixed the stove, raked the leaves and covered the shrubs so they wouldn't freeze. He heaped and piled and baked and stored. Grasshopper's music surrounded him and kept his feet dancing as he worked. When winter howled into town, Foxy G crawled out of his cardboard box and trudged to Kid A's house. When Kid A refused to let him in, the grasshopper reminded him of how much he had enjoyed the music. "Art is work. It just looks like play." Throwing himself on the ant's mercy, Foxy G begged for sympathy. Kid A remained firm and Foxy G walked slowly into the storm with no place to go. The comic strip format and the text written in verse soften the satirical message of the tale. The story is written in cursive handwriting, which may be difficult for some children to read. 2003, Simon & Schuster,
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Rhythmic verse, comic-strip panels, and a bug-populated city are the main elements in this modern twist on an Aesop fable. Kid A, an ant, leaves his grasshopper friend, Foxy G, to return to work: "Got to split, Foxy. The summer's been fun. Time to dump this place, get back in the race. There's a lot of work to be done." Foxy stays on the streets ("I have to groove, move, prove, disprove-") to play music "clear and wild." When the grasshopper's wings freeze, he shamefully goes to the ant's door. Recalling Leo Lionni's Frederick (Knopf, 1967), Foxy argues that "art is work/It just looks like play," but his friend rejects him. Strong rhythms and occasional use of slang match the jazzy world depicted in the artwork. Some rhymes seem forced, but in general the poetry is effective, flowing through narration and dialogue. The handwritten cursive text may be challenging for younger readers. Lemaitre's cartoons help with the story's pace, and the switch from small panels to full-page scenes effectively accentuates dramatic moments. The book ends with two wordless illustrations, one showing a not-so-sure-of-himself ant, opposite a look at the grasshopper trudging through the snow. A final scene repeats the grasshopper view, this time depicted as a snow globe, with the phrase "Who's Got Game?" underneath. Readers drawn into the initially lighthearted tale are neatly led to a conclusion that encourages them to ponder and discuss the value and importance of art.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743222471
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 6/17/2003
  • Series: Who's Got Game? Series, #1
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.54 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize–winning American author, editor, and professor. Her contributions to the modern canon are numerous. Some of her acclaimed titles include: The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature 1993.

Slade Morrison was born in Ohio and educated in New York City. He studied art at SUNY Purchase and collaborated with his mother, Toni Morrison, on five books for children.

Pascal Lemaitre illustrated Toni and Slade Morrison's bestselling Who's Got Game?: Three Fables, as well as many other books for children. He and his family divide their time between Brussels, Belgium, where he teaches illustration, and Brooklyn, New York. Visit him online at PascalLemaitre.com.

Biography

Toni Morrison has been called "black America's best novelist," and her incredible string of imaginative contemporary classics would suggest that she is actually one of America's best novelists regardless of race. Be that as it may, it is indeed difficult to disconnect Morrison's work from racial issues, as they lie at the heart of her most enduring novels.

Growing up in Lorain, Ohio, a milieu Jet magazine described as "mixed and sometimes hostile," Morrison experienced racism firsthand. (When she was still a toddler, her home was set on fire with her family inside.) Yet, her father instilled in her a great sense of dignity, a cultural pride that would permeate her writing. She distinguished herself in school, graduating from Howard and Cornell Universities with bachelor's and master's degrees in English; in addition to her career as a writer, she has taught at several colleges and universities, lectured widely, and worked in publishing.

Morrison made her literary debut in 1970 with The Bluest Eye, the story of a lonely 11-year-old black girl who prays that God will turn her eyes blue, in the naïve belief that this transformation will change her miserable life. As the tale unfolds, her life does change, but in ways almost too tragic and devastating to contemplate. On its publication, the book received mixed reviews; but John Leonard of The New York Times recognized the brilliance of Morrison's writing, describing her prose as "...so precise, so faithful to speech and so charged with pain and wonder that the novel becomes poetry."

Over time, Morrison's talent became self-evident, and her reputation grew with each successive book. Her second novel, Sula, was nominated for a National Book Award; her third, 1977's Song of Solomon, established her as a true literary force. Shot through with the mythology and African-American folklore that informed Morrison's childhood in Ohio, this contemporary folktale is notable for its blending of supernatural and realistic elements. It was reviewed rapturously and went on win a National Book Critics Circle Award.

The culmination of Morrison's storytelling skills, and the book most often considered her masterpiece, is Beloved. Published in 1987 and inspired by an incident from history, this post-Civil War ghost story tells the story of Sethe, a former runaway slave who murdered her baby daughter rather than condemn her to a life of slavery. Now, 18 years later, Sethe and her family are haunted by the spirit of the dead child. Heartbreaking and harrowing, Beloved grapples with mythic themes of love and loss, family and freedom, grief and guilt, while excavating the tragic, shameful legacy of slavery. The novel so moved Morrison's literary peers that 48 of them signed an open letter published in The New York Times, demanding that she be recognized for this towering achievement. The book went on to win the Pulitzer Prize; and in 2006, it was selected by The New York Times as the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.

In addition to her extraordinary novels, Morrison has also written a play, short stories, a children's book, and copious nonfiction, including essays, reviews, and literary and social criticism. While she has made her name by addressing important African-American themes, her narrative power and epic sweep have won her a wide and diverse audience. She cannot be dismissed as a "black writer" any more than we can shoehorn Faulkner's fiction into "southern literature." Fittingly, she received the Nobel Prize in 1993; perhaps the true power of her impressive body of work is best summed up in the Swedish Academy's citation, which reads: "To Toni Morrison, who, in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."

Good To Know

Chloe Anthony Wofford chose to publish her first novel under the name Toni Morrison because she believed that Toni was easier to pronounce than Chloe. Morrison later regretted assuming the nom de plume.

In 1986, the first production of Morrison's sole play Dreaming Emmett was staged. The play was based on the story of Emmett Till, a black teen murdered by racists in 1955.

Morrison's prestigious status is not limited to her revered novels or her multitude of awards. She also holds a chair at Princeton University.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Chloe Anthony Wofford (real name)
      Toni Morrison
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey, and Manhattan
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1931
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lorain, Ohio
    1. Education:
      Howard University, B.A. in English, 1953; Cornell, M.A., 1955

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2008

    sick childhood

    This woman is in desperate need of mental reconstruction. Her sick views of the white race and the world in general will taint your child's morale. They will cease to be the same innocent child you knew before they picked up Toni Morrison's sad excuse for literature. Beware of her ability to claw her way into your soul and devour every fond memory you have ever experienced.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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