Reviews for Ant and the Grasshopper

Booklist Reviews 2012 December #1
The Emberleys cast their quirky brand of picture-book magic on another classic, celebrating not only the rewards of hard work but also the intrinsic value of music and the arts. As an ant struggles to carry a wedge of watermelon back to her colony, she hears the uplifting strains of music and soldiers on, eventually discovering its source--a jazzy bug band led by a grasshopper on guitar. The "joyful noise" buoys the ant, body and soul, so the combo accompanies her on the arduous trek, performing the whole way and, in turn, being rewarded for their own hard work. Dedicated to the people of New Orleans, the book's lighthearted text and art subtly echo the city's rich traditions and, of course, its love of a good party. Emberley's distinct high-voltage cut-paper illustrations in dynamic, close-up double-page spreads (and a lagniappe foldout) are tailor-made for a swinging storytime--with nary a bad seat in the house. Laissez les bon temps rouler! Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
An ant carrying some picnic leftovers home to her family encounters an all-bug band that serenades her until she reaches her destination; to thank them, she welcomes them into her home for a party. This Cajun-flecked retelling of a classic fable features illustrations that one would expect from the Emberleys: unimpeachable cut-paper-like art in electrifying color combinations.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #1
In this playful riff on Aesop's fable, an ant's load is made light when her spirit is lifted by the grasshopper's music. The ant, burdened with a sticky piece of watermelon and weighed down by the thought that her family is depending on her for food, is so tired she can barely take another step. Then she hears MUSIC (emphasized in boldface capital letters) made by the grasshopper and his band. In fact, those first notes leave her positively bug-eyed. Instead of chastising them for playing, the ant is moved by the tune. Gallantly, the band takes to the road in order to march her back to her colony. In an additional, delicious twist highlighting their symbiotic relationship, the ant invites them into her home, where they party--a celebration highlighted in a foldout spread that works both front and back. The text has a distinctly jazzy drawl that begs to be read aloud. The collage art is bursting with pleasingly chaotic, Mardi Gras colors, especially the two spreads depicting ant's first views of the buggy band. The pacing is masterful, and the inclusion of the foldout page provides a wonderful place to pause and, as the text exhorts, "[l]et the good times roll!" The Emberleys offer such a joyful, imaginative interpretation of the classic that even the youngest will understand the unstated message to "eat, drink and be merry." (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #1

While maintaining the archetypes of the hardworking ant and laid-back grasshopper, the Emberleys transform Aesop's fable about preparedness into a joyful celebration of community and music with a Cajun flair. "Somewhere on the boulevard of backyards an ant was struggling with the remnants of a picnic," opens the story, as the determined insect transports a slice of watermelon back to her colony. Weary from her labors, she is energized by a performance from grasshopper "and his buggy band making music with complete abandon." When the ant declines the grasshopper's offer to "put down that big sticky thing and come groove with us," they take their show on the road, culminating with an underground party at the ant colony that all the insects can enjoy. The Emberleys' characteristically bold cut-paper artwork is as dominant and kinetic as ever, but the loose, jazz-inflected prose holds its own, even injecting the story with moments of humor (the band's music makes the ant smile, "which on an ant can look a little strange," the Emberleys write). It's a jubilant reminder that valuable, important work comes in many forms. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 October

PreS-Gr 3--Continuing their reimagining of classic tales and employing the brilliantly colored, textured illustrations that are the trademark of their retellings, the Emberleys now focus their attention on a fable from Aesop and turn it into a paean to the music of New Orleans. The story of the industrious ant takes on a new twist when she stumbles upon "a grasshopper and his buggy band making music with complete abandon." The book is chock-full of visual interest and superb vocabulary words ("persevered," "blistering," "hoisting," and more), and the ant discovers that music can make any burden lighter. Inviting the jazzy bug band back to her underground colony, the group moves on to "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" with the foldout translating for children, "Let the good times roll!" While this does not have the hilarity found in Chicken Little (Roaring Brook, 2009), it still makes a splendid read-aloud for a wide variety of age levels, encouraging examination of the energetic illustrations and discussion of the role that music plays in our lives.--Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI

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