cover image Ants Can't Dance

Ants Can't Dance

Ellen Jackson. MacMillan Publishing Company, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-747661-3

In this whimsical tale, Jonathan finds a dancing ant and carries it home to his parents, who know ``nearly everything.'' But the ant refuses to perform for the learned duo--and who can blame it? ``Ants can't dance,'' says Jonathan's mother; ``Absolutely, positively not,'' says his father. The next day Jonathan brings home a talking peanut (``Pass the salt and butter the corn''), and is met with similar disparagement from his parents. But when the boy discovers a stone that whistles for anybody--mother, father, geologists, TV reporters--events take an amusing turn. As a lighthearted picture book this collaboration will be enjoyed by parents and children alike. The comical illustrations are bright and cheery, and Jonathan is an endearing character. On a deeper level, however, the story lacks substance. The fresh, witty prose of the opening pages peters out, and the plot and premise become repetitive. Fun, but lightweight. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)