Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Two Bad Ants

Two Bad Ants

4.5 4
by Chris Van Allsburg

The three-time Caldecott medalist tells the tale of two ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture into a danger-laden kitchen.


The three-time Caldecott medalist tells the tale of two ants who decide to leave the safety of the others to venture into a danger-laden kitchen.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Children will be fascinated by the ant-eye view that Van Allsburg provides of common everyday items." Booklist, ALA
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this new book by Van Allsburg, twice a winner of the Caldecott Medal, the theme of an outsider's point-of-view (touched upon most recently in his The Stranger ) is expanded. Accustomed to the orderly and uneventful life in the ant hole, all the ants enter the bizarre world of a kitchen in the search for sugar crystals for the queen. Two greedy ants stay behind in the sugar bowl, eating their fill and then falling asleep. Their slumbers end when a giant scoop drops them into a sea of boiling brown coffee. Further mishaps include a heated stay in the toaster, a hazardous swirl in the garbage disposal and a zap in an electrical outlet. When the ant troops return, the two bad ants gladly rejoin their friends and head for the safety of home. In this work, the hazards of nonconformity are clear. The narration has the feel of early newsreels where the broadcaster described unknown phenomena in clipped, clinical language: ``A strange force passed through the wet ants. They were stunned senseless and blown out of the holes like bullets from a gun.'' The resilient ants and the eerie landscapes are portrayed in strong black-and-white images, enriched by deep brown, purple, slate, gold and steely blue colors; Van Allsburg, playing with perspective, creates marvelous contrasts and images. But although Two Bad Ants is visually different from its predecessors, it shares the same strong style, dazzling artwork and whimsy that characterizes all of the artist's work. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
When a group of ants embarks on a journey to find tasty food, two ants decide to venture out on their own. After encountering some close calls in a danger-filled kitchen, the two bad ants rejoin their friends and return home. Readers will enjoy this adventure story, which offers an interesting look at the world from an ant's perspective.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5 In this brief tale of the adventures of two runaway ants, Van Allsburg once again gives children a visual puzzle to solvein this case identifying common household appliances from an ant's point of view. When a troop of ants are sent to retrieve sugar crystals from a kitchen, two ants stay behind to feast and go to sleep in the sugar bowl. When morning comes they are successively stirred into a cup of coffee, almost swallowed, toasted with an english muffin, whirled through a garbage disposal, and stunned senseless in an electrical outlet. While some children will enjoy identifying the highly magnified objects, others will wonder how the ants have managed to survive any one of these disasters. The truants return home in one piece, and the last few lines supply a pallid and oddly moralistic conclusion to the story. The book is a visual tour-de-force. The highly linear, hard-edged drawings look like fine etchings which have been magnifieda technique which enhances the sense of being reduced to ant size. The colors applied in flat fields are primarily limited to earth tones and gray, combined with touches of pure white and black in lines and fields of almost luminous intensity. The intensity of the visual experience overpowers the story, which is a flat, rather cold vehicle, an excuse for a visual game which will appeal to the intellect of children older than typical picture book readers. Eleanor K. MacDonald, Beverly Hills Public Lib .

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.13(w) x 11.75(h) x 0.44(d)
780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg is a former instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Brief Biography

Providence, Rhode Island
Date of Birth:
June 18, 1949
Place of Birth:
Grand Rapids, Michigan
University of Michigan College of Architecture & Design, 1972; Rhode Island School of Design, MFA, 1975

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Two Bad Ants 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really like 'Two Bad Ants' by Chris Van Allsburg. This book has a lot of detail in the writing and the pictures.In my opinion it is a good book for everybody.It is a fantasy book.The two ants in this book were very selfish when they stayed behind and ate all the sugar.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg I think this book is good because the ants have a lot of adventures with the house stuff. It¿s cool when They shot out of the outlet in the event they gave weird stuff to the queen ant she loved it so they got more . At the end there was a big thing in the adventures. Then they absents there family of ants but they did care that they were gone. Read the book it¿s a suprise.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite children's books. The lesson that these two ants learn is very heartwarming. Definitely worth reading and owning for children and adults!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A child get's to experience the world through the eyes of two mischevious ants. The moral of the story is worth reading again & again too.