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Thinking about Ants


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Gr 1-3‘This simple introduction invites readers to see the world from an ant's point of view. As the text briefly describes the tiny insect's physical and behavioral characteristics, natural habitats, life cycle, diet, and enemies, it suggests that one imagine becoming an ant, taking on specific physical characteristics as they are mentioned and performing some of a worker ant's tasks. Vibrant paintings‘most of which are two-page spreads‘show a variety of ant species in natural settings as they engage in food gathering, fighting off enemies, tending larvae or the queen, etc. An appendix identifies the species depicted by common name. While the lilting, clearly written text is well organized, some useful information is omitted. For instance, terms such as "larvae," "cocoon," and "pupae" are not defined. Aphids are mentioned, but not identified as insects and no explanation is given as to how ants "sip honeydew" from them. Also, the environments shown are too pristine to be completely realistic. Arthur Dorros's Ant Cities (HarperCollins, 1988) provides more detailed information of life within an ant colony, but lacks Brenner's imaginative approach to the subject and Schwartz's anatomically precise paintings. Minor flaws aside, Thinking About Ants will give young readers a good idea of what an ant's life is really like.‘Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library

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