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4.7 out of 5 stars19
4.7 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Kid: "Hey, little ant . . . ./See my shoe, can you see that?/Well, now, it's gonna squish you flat!"
This situation opens the book. The story then evolves into a dialogue between ant and kid to decide the ant's fate.
The kid feels like he can do what he wants if the ant cannot talk back, but his ant can. The ant begs for his life. Then the kid argues that ants don't feel, and no one will miss him. The ant points out that he will be missed. The kid argues that ants steal from people, and the ant protests that they only take a little. The kid says that his friends expect him to squish the ant, and the ant asks the kid to exchange places in his mind. "If you were me and I were you,/What would you want me to do?"
The book ends with "What do you think that kid should do?" This question is a nice set-up for a thoughtful discussion with your child. Unlike many books that proclaim the correct judgment, this one certainly suggests that the ant not be squished but leaves the question open. You can ask how your child's answer might change if other creatures are involved (a mosquito, a worm, a caterpillar, a butterfly, and so forth).
The rhyming scheme in the book is also set to music in the back, so you can also play and sing the book together.
Phillip Hoose is on the staff of the Nature Conservancy. His daughter and co-author, Hannah, was 9 when they wrote this book together. So another pleasure of changing perspectives here is to realize that parents and children can write books and songs together!
The illustrations are very wonderful. In several sequences, the two page spreads are developed vertically rather than horizontally. Ms. Tilley does this very well to portray the giant kid looming over the ant, and later the imaginary giant ant dominating the kid. Each illustration has a sense of movement and presence that makes them seem to come off the page. The details are very rewarding, and will encourages your youngster to look closely.
After reading this book, I suggest that you also talk about where parents and children should be more considerate of each other in what they ask and expect. The relative size differences there are important. You may be surprised to find that your children are a little more intimidated by you than you intended. If so, this book can have a wonderful application in your family . . . as well as in nature.
By the way, I avoid hurting any living creature . . . so I found this book especially charming.
See the world through the eyes of others and other creatures!
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on December 29, 2011
I understand that the story could be used to teach empathy and compassion. And, I understand that the story could be used as a metaphor for bullying or, in a rose-coloured ideological stretch, as a metaphor for international understanding.

However, ants are not people, and killing an insect is not the same as killing a person. Although children sometimes need to be taught not to be unnecessarily cruel, or to be dismissive of the value of life in general, the justification of this general respect for life is different than the justification for the respect of human life, according to my beliefs.

Unless someone is a vegan, for example, the story is not consistent with the eating of meat. The poor cows, chicken, and fish, certainly have families and a community, too.

My experience is that children understand the difference between animals/insects and other people, though I am not denying that there is a fluidity and connection between the two.

Personifying the ant does more to degrade the value of human life than it does to raise the value of the lives of animals or insects. Again, there are more powerful and effective ways to teach lessons of respect for life, human and otherwise. Alternative books teaching lessons of compassion and kindness for other human beings would be "Brothers, a Hebrew Legend", "Bagels from Bennie", or "A Thousand Dresses".

We received this book as a gift but will not be keeping it in our home.
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on December 8, 2000
"Hey, Little Ant," by Phillip and Hannah Hoose is one of my favorite children's books. Based on a real-life experience the author had as he watched his toddler squishing ants one day, this book is as powerful a teaching tool as I've seen come along in a very long time. In this classic, a Kid threatens to squish the book's hero Ant and a clever dialogue ensues. Allowed to plead its case, the Ant explains to the boy that he, too, has a special reason for being. Through cleverly rhyming verse, set to musical notes if you'd rather sing it, the Ant tries to negotiate for its life, citing the "Golden Rule" to solidify its case. The beauty of this tale is that it ends with a dilemma: "what do you think that Kid should do?" Leaving it open-ended is a tremendous way to generate dialogue with children. It gives them the opportunity to think the problem through and offer problem-solving solutions; it serves to empower them by giving them a voice. At a time in our society when schools are reluctant to teach values through character education, along comes a little book with a powerful message. As a counselor, I used it to teach middle schoolers how to deal with the people who are ANTS in their lives - who might bite them with their words or try to poison them with their actions - focusing on characteristics we might need like Awareness, Negotiation, Tolerance and Sensitivity. I give "Hey, Little Ant" as many stars as it can get and more. Don't miss this one; you will NOT be disappointed!
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on March 9, 2000
This book is an excellent book for children and adults both. It is the story of a little boy who is about to smash an ant when, the ant asks him not to and the reasons why he needs to survive. The book makes children think about how smaller things feel even though you think that they do not have feelings just because they are so small. The book has a song in the back which allows children to try something a little differant when studying the way that ants live and how they feel. This book has great pictures and really helps to make the story come to life. I recomed this book to everyone that has a small child or wants a good laugh.
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on November 9, 2000
This book is written as a dialogue between a young boy and an ant. The boy is about to squish the ant when they get into a conversation. I used this book with a boy I am tutoring. I read the boy part and he read the ant part. I was able to read with expression and feeling and my young friend mimicked my style as his reading became much more animated and lively. He got out of his reading monotone as we traded dialogue back and forth. The art work is great and has surprizes to look for from one page to the next.
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on January 11, 2002
This wonderful book gives the reader a great feeling for this poor ant . This little ant has to negotiate for his life!! The only way to make the kid with the big shoe know how it feels to be squished is to turn the tables and make him realize what it feels like to be under an Ants' foot. This book is a must have. It teaches compassion, negotiation, and how to see the world through someonelses eyes.
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I was one of the editors who read the text version of Hey, Little Ant and loved it. Much to my sorrow, my company decided not to publish it. Hey Little Ant is a delightful book to read (or sing) aloud and perfect way to introduce children to valuing all living creatures. I'm pleased that Tricycle published it, giving it wonderful illustrations that children find very appealing.
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on March 18, 2000
This is an excellent book for all ages. I love that both the perspective of the ant and the boy is given. The best part of the book is the last page, when it is up to the "reader" on whether the boy should or should not squish the ant. This books allows for so much discussion because of it's open-ended ending! More books should be written with this type of ending!
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on June 13, 2001
Hey, Little Ant, is my favorite gift for the children in my extended family. Such a thought provoking, conversation stimulator. The illustrations are bright and colorful. Great for the little ones to follow. I love everything about this book and so do my friends and their children. I hope we have many more coming soon from this gifted family soon.
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on August 25, 2014
This book is great for young children. My son really gets into the two characters and loves when I read using two different voices. It's a fun story to talk about, especially when he and his friends love stomping on ants. Hey, he's three, what can I expect? Anyway, it's a good story and helps me talk to him about not killing every bug he sees :)
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