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An Ant's Day Off    by Bonny Becker & Nina Laden order for
Ant's Day Off
by Bonny Becker
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Bart the sand ant wants a break, but his buddy Floyd reminds him that ant's don't take days off, 'Never ever in the history of antdom.' Despite Floyd's pleas, a glimmer of blue sky calls to Bart, who climbs up through the sand tunnel to the surface (where Nina Laden's illustrations do a fine job of giving us an ant's-eye view of nature).

Bart escapes into adventure. First, he floats on a leaf past frogs singing 'Life is but a dream' ... and snapping up insects. He scales a dandelion, and ends up flying a bumblebee. It's very funny, as poor Bart tries to enjoy himself, all the time hearing Floyd's Jiminy Cricket-like warnings in verse, such as 'Always work, never rest. You see what comes of idleness'. Wondering if he'll be accepted back in the colony, Bart meets an old ant. He also took a day off 'long ago' and tells Bart that 'sometimes an ant just needs to look at the sky, now doesn't he?' And when Bart gets back together with Floyd again, it seems that itchy feet might be contagious.

Kids - always ready for a break from chores and homework - will sympathize with this tiny insect and enjoy his outdoor adventures, while adults can learn a lesson or two about the need for balance and adventure in their lives. An Ant's Day Off is a charming picture book for all ages.

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