Sunday, March 16, 2008

Two Bad Ants

A. Title: Two Bad Ants

B. Author: Chris Van Allsburg

C. Illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg

D. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company

E. Genre: Picture Book

F. Reading Level: 2-3

G. Summary: Two Bad Ants is a story about an ant community that finds a home with a jar full of sugar. On a trip to collect sugar, the worker ants traveled a long distance at night and traveled up steep mountains to reach the tasty crystals. Two ants decided that this place was heaven, and they wanted to stay behind to enjoy their new found riches. The next morning, while the two ants were sleeping in the sugar jar, a spoon scoops them up and dumps them in coffee! The ants battle the swirling, hot liquid, and manage to get out. Unfortunately, the ants climbed into holes in some bread and got put into the toaster! Once they got out of there, they were drifted away by water in the sink into a garbage disposal. Next, they tried to climb into a outlet and got zapped. Finally, they were so tried they went to sleep in a dark corner and awoke to see the worker ants returned for more sugar crystals. The two ants got back in line, marched home, and were very happy to be home! The illustrations appear to be done in pen and ink; the detailed pictures have a lot of geometric lines and symmetry probably to make the size of the ants to their surroundings pop.

H. Response: I really enjoyed Two Bad Ants for a number of reasons. My favorite part about the book is realizing how tough worker ants must have it. The details in the story and the illustrations of what the ants went through just to get to the food was very interesting. The best part, by far, was the part when the ants were in the home getting tossed around and bruised up because they had no idea what was going on, but as the reader you do know what is happening to the ants! The style of art that Chris Van Allsburg uses in Two Bad Ants is fun, but I like some of his other media styles and choices a bit better. The illustrations were very clear and went along with the story well, but I prefer his style in The Polar Express.

I. Teaching Ideas: Two Bad Ants would be a great picture book to start off a science unit on insects and their characteristics, habitat, or their every day life. On Teacher CyberGuide, I found a lesson plan that includes an activity dealing with Chris Van Allsburg's biography and life, how Chris gets his ideas for stories and illustrations, and ways to create food inspired by insects! I found links on Web English Teacher for multiple lesson plan ideas for Two Bad Ants. Some of the lesson plan topics include collecting information on ants (group work), discussion questions and writing prompts for related creative writing exercises, reading and writing activities to support the book, map-making, different perspectives, etc. I plan to use this book to aid my future lesson plans, especially if ants or insects happens to be the topic.

1 comment:

Dr. Frye said...

Yes, I love this one, too! My favorite for teaching perspective! I really appreciate all of your efforts in linking to lessons and websites that enrich your blog. I hope you will see the utility in this as you enter the classroom. Thanks Rachel, for all of your hard work.