cover image One Mean Ant

One Mean Ant

Arthur Yorinks, illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8394-8

“Once, there was an ant. A really mean ant,” Yorinks (Hey, Al) writes. “He was so mean, leaves would fall off trees when he walked by.” Ruzzier (Good Boy) draws the insect in minute, fascinating detail. The ant narrows his eyes, clenches his teeth and makes a fist with one of his four hands. “Hey, you, dig that hole!” he growls, “minding everyone else’s business” as he passes. Then, stomping around until he finds himself lost in the desert, he roasts and rages until he’s accosted by a goofy-looking fly who’s not bothered by having landed in the middle of nowhere: “I’m not lost... I just used to be someplace else, and now I’m here.” There’s little physical action; instead, the energy comes from Yorinks’s hotheaded dialogue (“Buzz off!”) and Ruzzier’s expressive characters and backgrounds. Though the even-tempered fly shows signs of being able to break through the ant’s hostile defenses, redemption is fleeting for the vaudevillian pair. And a surprise ending brings the proceedings to a sudden close that may prove a bit of a shock for those who have gotten into the lengthy story’s rhythm. Ages 3–7. [em](Feb.) [/em]