BUG SAFARI

Bob Barner, Author, Bob Barner, Illustrator . Holiday $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1707-0

"The events described here actually happened to me," intones the narrator of this "safari" memoir. "The things I learned are recorded to the best of my memory." But the sober set-up is just that—a lead-in to a romp of a tale with a surprise ending. The artwork is the first clue. Using his trademark eye-poppingly bright cut and torn paper, Barner (Parade Day ) zooms in on the ground-level action of a trail of black ants. The narrator, a boy in a pith helmet, is "lost in a bug-infested jungle" and hopes that following the ants will lead him to safety. Crawling amid an explosion of colorful, graphic flowers on vibrant-hued backgrounds, the ants encounter danger from red ants, a toad, a spider—akin to the boy's own mock-serious travails: "I had scraped my knees and cut my finger, and needed medical attention. I bravely pressed onward, hoping I would one day see another human being." Sure enough, the ants do lead him to care and sustenance at the picnic blanket in his own backyard, where he has been roaming all along. Besides enjoying this roguish adventure, children should pick up a fair amount of insect knowledge (e.g., "I noticed that the ants talked to one another by touching antennae on top of their heads"), especially from the five pages of bug trivia that follow the story. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/26/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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