Thursday, April 1, 2010
Review: Little Black Ant on Park Street by Janet Halfmann
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Soundprint; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 8.6 x 0.4 inches
Now that little Black Ant is old enough to leave the nest she sets out to search for food. Using her antenna to sniff out danger, Little Black Ant manages to find a tasty caterpillar on the sidewalk. Try as she might, it is just to heavy for her to drag back to the nest. Little Black Ant scurries back for some much needed help. Squirting little drops of liquid from her tail, Little Black Ant leaves a scent trail for the other ants to follow. When the reinforcements show up, they make short work of the caterpillar and haul it back to share with the other worker ants. Using their unique "social stomach" for storage, there will soon be food to feed the queen, babies and other workers. While out searching for more food, Little Black Ant has a close encounter with a blue jay that leaves her far from home but when she catches a whiff of something familiar, she manages to find her way. On another day, Little Black Ant and the other ants invite themselves to a picnic and haul off lots of pieces of a big chocolate chip cookie. Yum! Working as a team, the ants manage to move things that are many times their own weight. Towards the end of summer is the mating season when the queens lose their wings and start new colonies. Fall arrives and the ants plug up the entrance to Park Street and settle down for winter all huddled around the queen. When spring arrives, the process will start all over again not only on Park Street but in many other places. Busy, busy time for Little Black Ant and all the other ants in the nest.
At the end of the book is some info about little black ants; where they live, how they hatch and grow and how the colony works together to survive. It didn't surprise me to read that the female ants do most of the work in the colony! Another thing I learned is that little black ants help control red fire ants. Living in Florida, we know how painful it is to be bitten by red fire ants. Ouch!! A short glossary of terms is also included on the back page.
Little Black Ant is beautifully illustrated by Kathleen Rietz. Every page is filled with nice big pictures telling the story in a fun way that kids will enjoy. This book is part of the Smithonian's backyard collection; a wonderful series that not only entertains but educates children about the world around them.
Last year, I was privileged to review Little Skink's Tail by Janet. This is still one of my favorite children's book. This link will take you to the review and info about Janet Halfmann.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was sent to me by the publisher, Soundprints.