Review of Ants Don't Wear Pants!

Ants Don’t Wear Pants! [Giggle and Learn]
by Kevin McCloskey; illus. by the author
Primary    TOON    40 pp.
9/19    978-1-943145-45-4    $12.95

In this fifth entry in the Giggle and Learn series of nonfiction early-reader comics (most recently, Snails Are Just My Speed, rev. 7/18), two peppy young people investigate ants’ amazingness. After magically shrinking down for an insect’s-eye view, the girl observes ants as they use their four strongest senses to communicate (by touch), listen (through their legs), sniff out food (using their antennae; scout ants’ bums leave a “smell trail” leading to food), and then share it…by vomiting into one another’s mouths (“Looks like they’re K.I.S.S.I.N.G!” says the boy; “Um…” says the girl). The acrylic and gouache illustrations, painted on brown paper bags and using subdued nature hues, give the children — and the ants — plenty of personality. Simple labeled diagrams depict scientific concepts such as anatomy, life cycle, colony structure, and cooperative work. One memorable page shows a thousand black ants working in concert; at the bottom of the page (and the next and the next), a line of leaf-cutter ants marches by. Facing pages close to the end of the book show “What Ants Eat” and “What Eats Ants”; with a page-turn, anteaters get their own say, including humorous speech-bubble dialogue: “Why don’t we ever order pizza?” “We’re anteaters!” “Okay. How about pizza with extra ants?”

From the January/February 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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