cover image The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Amy Lowry Poole. Holiday House, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1477-2

This smooth retelling of Aesop's classic fable is set in the summer palace of the Chinese emperor. Poole (How the Rooster Got His Crown) once again applies the techniques of scroll-making to luxurious effect. In calming hues of orange, brown and green, her paintings depict the carefree grasshopper strumming away on his little violin-like instrument while the industrious ants spend the summer preparing for the long, cold winter. In the background, as the royal family holds its festivities, one boy silently tunes in while the grasshopper tries in vain to distract the ants from their tasks: ""`Silly ants,' said the grasshopper. `Don't you ever rest? Today is the harvest festival. Come and dance with me.'"" The ants resolutely refuse to alter their course and advise the grasshopper to follow their example, which he declines to do. As winter approaches, both the ants and the royal family depart from their summer homes, leaving the grasshopper alone and regretful, a poignant end to a well-retold tale. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)