Parents' Guide to

The Grasshopper and the Ants

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 3+

Twist on classic fable boosts value of play as well as work.

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The text of The Grasshopper & the Ants, limited to sparse dialogue between Grasshopper and the ants, anchors us, but the richly detailed illustrations tell the story. Jerry Pinkney has racked up numerous awards, including prestigious Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Book Awards, and he's a practiced hand at fables, having previously tackled The Lion and the Mouse and The Tortoise and the Hare.

Though the washy watercolor and busy spreads of ants sometimes make it difficult to discern the finer details, a close reading yields benefits: Grasshopper wears maple seed pods as snowshoes! And happily, the moral is not harshly moralistic; when Grasshopper shivers outside, the Queen Ant invites him in for tea. He then plays music for the ants, who join in joyfully, an acknowledgement that there's more than one type of work. Art and entertainment are important, as is the sharing of bounty.

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