cover image How to Walk an Ant

How to Walk an Ant

Cindy Derby. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-16262-5

The narrator of this off-the-wall guide is a girl named Amariyah, who has a jumble of ink lines for hair and an unshakeable belief in her expertise as an ant walker. She offers nine steps to help readers replicate her success, although her approach isn’t without hiccups: when she coaxes an ant onto a leash (“Tie the smallest bow in the universe then secure the leash between the ant’s thorax and head”), the insect looks dubious about the whole enterprise, and Amariyah unwisely commits herself to walking an entire hungry colony (“repeat steps two through seven three thousand and twenty-eight times”). Everything comes to a screeching, tangled halt when she collides with a peer who has styled herself as a ladybug walker—a scene rendered as a glorious mess of strings, ants, ladybugs and splotches of red and green—but a friendship is forged over a solemnly staged bug funeral and ice cream cones (“Celebrate when you reach your goal”). Derby, making a highly original debut, offers sly comic timing and deadpan prose that feel right at home with her scratchily inked, goth-vibed art style. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.) [/em]