Amazon Best Books of the Month, March 2011
: Ant and Grasshopper
picks up Aesop’s well-worn fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper
, and gives it an added twist. Day in and day out, Ant meticulously counts the beans, raisins, and other goodies he's been saving for the winter, while outside Grasshopper plays his fiddle, sings his songs, and extols Ant to come enjoy the summer sunshine. As in Aesop's, when the cruel winter comes Grasshopper begs Ant to save him for he has not prepared food or shelter. This is where the stories diverge. In Luli Gray’s version, after shutting the door on Grasshopper, Ant has a dream that awakens an appreciation for Grasshopper's musical bounty and he rushes to Grasshopper's rescue. While the original moral message about working hard and planning ahead still comes across, Ant and Grasshopper
also reminds readers that valuing others' talents and showing compassion brings the greatest reward of all--friendship.--Seira Wilson
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Industrious Ant and pesty, music-loving Grasshopper move beyond Aesop's pointed lesson on negligence to a quite different moral as Gray further develops their relationship in this engaging, extended story. The plot unfolds in familiar fashion but with considerably more dialogue and character development. Ant is a rich, hardworking, bean-counting fellow. Grasshopper is a bothersome distraction. "It's June, Ant! The sun is warm; the sky is blue. Come out and dance...." Ferri expands the funin fulsome watercolor scenes of Ant's glowing home and the changing seasons beyond his door and windows. The sturdy comic insects, Grasshopper in a jaunty cap and Ant in visor and spectacles on a chain, have expressive eyes and body language. The traditional dichotomy begins to shift as the changing seasons bring quieter times. Ant finds himself distracted in his counting as "fragments of rhyme and wisps of music jangled about in his head." Grasshopper is turned away with a slammed door when he first turns up cold and hungry. "Hah!... I warned you. You danced and sang all summer, while respectable folk worked hard for a living, and it serves you right." Ah, but Ant has more to him than a hard heart, and his mood and his sleep are now disturbed. The old tale has a new implied moral about empathy and friendship as the two unlikely fellows learn to care for each other when Grasshopper nearly perishes in the snow. The humorous, fluent telling and pictures would pair well with terse Aesop versions and stand on their own, offering especially nice read-aloud fare.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.