The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants is a children's nonfiction book loaded with interesting and minute details about the lives of a variety of ants. The text of the book can be adjusted to three reading levels -- beginner, intermediate, and advanced -- by simply adjusting a slider bar on the page. Only the beginner level has a narrator. One page delves into some controversial territory by comparing capitalism and selfishness.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
Thinking & Reasoning
- thinking critically
Engagement, Approach, Support
Ants are fascinating, the book is well written, and the collage-like artwork is beautiful. This isn't as obviously interactive as other book apps, but an ant roams the screen offering additional bits of information when tapped.
Three levels of text make The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants accessible to kids at different reading levels. Each higher level provides more difficult vocabulary and more in-depth information.
Kids can follow additional resource links in the information section. Resources include Wikipedia entries, which some schools might not allow for research, and a fascinating, hour-long YouTube documentary.
What's it about?
In this interactive book app, kids learn where ants live, what and how they eat, and how they work. It's like three books in one, with a beginning level, an intermediate level, and an advanced level of text; each level covers the same ideas but with different depth, complexity, and vocabulary. The main text is written in a conversational second-person narrative, but E.O., the Ant, roams the screen adding first-person -- or, rather, first-ant -- perspective when tapped. The glossary includes words from all three reading levels as well as additional resources. Discussion questions at the end are all higher-level questions, including questions that ask kids to think about what human society can learn from ants. The three levels, each increasing in detail and vocabulary level, make THE STRANGE & WONDERFUL WORLD OF ANTS a standout among interactive science-related books.
Is it any good?
The ability to adjust the reading level of a book's text is amazing -- and that's just what The Strange & Wonderful World of Ants allows you to do. Both a 5-year-old and a 10-year-old can read this fascinating piece of nonfiction and come away with loads of new knowledge about the insect kingdom -- but they'll have read completely different words (or, in the case of the younger child, they'll have heard different words). The advanced level may technically provide more information, because it has more text, but the main ideas are still conveyed in the beginner version. In addition to this awesome technical feature, the collage-like artwork is absolutely beautiful. It's also fun to tap an ant crawling across the pages to get little nuggets of bonus information. This is a truly special book app!
Families can talk about...
Take time with your kids to watch ants at work, either outside or in an ant farm.
Don't limit younger kids to the easy version with the read-aloud. If they're interested, read them the advanced levels; kids can absorb vocabulary from read-alouds beyond their independent reading level.