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Ant Bully Hardcover – March 1, 1999


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Miniature worlds can be big attractions, as the films Antz and A Bug's Life show. Unfortunately, this insect adventure, concerning a boy who mistreats ants, provides no basis for its fantasy plot and evokes little sympathy for its hero. Lucas, who wears a goofy propeller cap and nerdish glasses, suffers the taunts of a tough kid named Sid. After Sid blasts him with a water hose, Lucas gets a squirt gun and does the same to a colony of ants. Alas, Lucas is no match for his would-be victims, who use a magical green potion to reduce him to their size and then sentence him to hard labor. ("Don't you realize how long and hard we work to build what you destroy in seconds?" huffs the Queen, who lounges on a pink chaise, smoking through a golden cigarette holder and nibbling gumdrops.) Once Lucas learns a lesson in community, the ants restore him to his original proportions, then devise a predictable comeuppance for his hose-toting nemesis (shrinkage, of course). Nickle's fine-line acrylic illustrations accent the slender digits and mandibles of the black ants; except for the long-lashed Queen Ant, the identical drones, wasps and spider here are painted in entomological detail. The author credibly anthropomorphizes ant societies, stressing equality and cooperation. Yet the facile conclusion denies Lucas a chance to succeed on human terms. Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Lucas's funny glasses and strange hat make him a perfect target for Sid, the neighborhood bully, and, since Lucas can't fight Sid, he tortures defenseless ants instead. Then the ants retaliate, and their queen shrinks Lucas to their size, forcing him into a life of hard labor with the worker ants. When he is given the supreme test of bringing the queen a red Swell Jell candy from his home, the boy shows his true mettle, protecting his partners from being swatted by his father. In gratitude, the queen returns him to his normal size, shrinking Sid instead. With the current popularity of the animated movies Antz and A Bug's Life, this title is timed just right for success, but the book falls short. The message is certainly clear, and Nickle's full-page acrylic paintings are bright, funny, and appealing. The text, however, is only average. The sentences are choppy, lack variety in their structure, and leave out potentially interesting details. Still, since the theme of a bully's getting his comeuppance continues to appeal to youngsters, the story is a suitable additional purchase for those collections in which books such as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's King of the Playground (Atheneum, 1991) are popular.
Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590395912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590395915
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Great lesson about bullying.
Cynthia M. Hopp
We would recommend this book to all the first grade classes around the world.
Carly R. Fleet
Even the depiction of the bully being pig like is poor.
Persop

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Williams on November 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I cannot say enough wonderful things about this book. As a student teacher I used this book for a conflict resolution lesson with fourth grade students. They were captivated, enchanted and unable to sit still as we read the story . The Ant Bully is the story of a child who-picked on by the neighborhood bully, in turn picks on ants. The ants decide they have had enough and shrink Lucas down to their size. Lucas learns a lesson, and so do the children. The Ant Bully teaches a wonderful lesson about looking at things from someone else's perspective. It also provides an ending that gives the perfect opportunity for a writing topic. My students could not wait to write their own version of what happens between Sid and Lucas. I recommend this book for any age group- its lesson is that important, and it is that enjoyable a read!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
John Nickle's incredible artistic talents are demonstrated in both The Ant Bully and Things That Are Most In The World. His unique style of focal points and colorations has my children looking at them over and over. I look forward to John Nickle's next book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though this book is recommended for older children, our almost 2-year-old has been carrying it around begging we read it to her over and over. It is one of the few books she will sit completely through. The illustrations and life lessons are excellent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carly R. Fleet on October 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
My first grade class in Texas loved The Ant Bully so much when I read it aloud in class. Our favorite part was when Sid the neighboorhood bully was skrunken by the ants at the end. We thought Sid would have to work like an ant. We would recommend this book to all the first grade classes around the world.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Clevenger on April 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book so much when my teacher read it, I had to buy my own copy. I'm a senior in college and I thought it was so cute. It also had a good moral...Be kind to everyone because you never know when you may need them on your side!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By aspy24 on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
When I was assigned the book and film version of The Ant Bully to review, I wasn't really expecting either to be entertaining. But, while I wouldn't list The Ant Bully as one of my all-time favorites--book or movie--there's quite a bit to like about both, and if parents are looking for kids' entertainment that showcases valuable lessons about life, then I can recommend The Ant Bully.

John Nickle's book tells the story of Lucas, a kid with a big problem--a big bully named Sid. Lucas has no hope of solving his Sid problem, but he can make himself feel superior by bullying ants. He's not big or brave enough to stand up to Sid, so his response to his torment is to bully ants. But one day, the ants--as small as they are--decide to deal with THEIR giant-sized bully by shrinking him down to size--theirs.

One downside to the book is that minor characters (most specifically Speedy and Rene, the two ants that befriend Lucas) don't get any real development. They just pop in and out. Additionally, the book ends in a cliffhanger of the poetic justice kind--good, if you like cliffhangers, bad, if you don't. Minor caution for parents: At one point in the story, Lucas--after being shrunk down to ant-size--is suddenly confronted by, and must contend with, a HUGE spider (from Lucas' POV). This piece of art was breathtaking and uncomfortably realistic, catching this reviewer by surprise. So if you or the kids are arachnophobes, like yours truly, turn the pages very carefully! Other illustrations, while clear, are rather plain and one-dimensional.
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