cover image The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59643-493-6

While maintaining the archetypes of the hardworking ant and laid-back grasshopper, the Emberleys transform Aesop’s fable about preparedness into a joyful celebration of community and music with a Cajun flair. “Somewhere on the boulevard of backyards an ant was struggling with the remnants of a picnic,” opens the story, as the determined insect transports a slice of watermelon back to her colony. Weary from her labors, she is energized by a performance from grasshopper “and his buggy band making music with complete abandon.” When the ant declines the grasshopper’s offer to “put down that big sticky thing and come groove with us,” they take their show on the road, culminating with an underground party at the ant colony that all the insects can enjoy. The Emberleys’ characteristically bold cut-paper artwork is as dominant and kinetic as ever, but the loose, jazz-inflected prose holds its own, even injecting the story with moments of humor (the band’s music makes the ant smile, “which on an ant can look a little strange,” the Emberleys write). It’s a jubilant reminder that valuable, important work comes in many forms. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)