One Mean Ant with Fly and Flea, by Arthur Yorinks/Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, (Oct. 2020, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9780763683955
The rollicking, continuing adventures of the Mean Ant continues in this second book, which picks up shortly after the events of the first. The Ant and the Fly are prisoners in a spider’s web, so Ant’s day isn’t getting any better. But, wait! What’s that spot? It’s Flea! With Flea’s acrobatic prowess – he’s a flea circus escapee – the group manage to escape the web, but they’re not out of danger yet! This is the second book in a trilogy, and I rank this up there with Jon Klassen’s Hat Trilogy in terms of laugh-out-loud storytelling. The comedic timing here is spot on: this is a priceless readaloud. Ant is cantankerous, Fly just tries so hard, and Flea is frightened for his life! The wordplay is genius, and the expressive faces and body language enhances the dialogue. I can’t wait for the third installment. A great readaloud choice beyond the little ones, first and second graders will love this story – my third grader laughs out loud when we read it together.
One Mean Ant, by Arthur Yorinks/Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier, (Feb. 2020, Candlewick Press), $22.99, ISBN: 9780763683948
See that guy on the cover? He is mean. I mean, MEAN. Leaves fall off trees, grapes shrivel into raisins, and dung beetles… well, you can guess what they do when he walks by. One day, this crabby ant is so focused on complaining and yelling at everyone around him that he wanders into the desert and discovers he’s totally lost. Luckily for him, a fly happens by. Unluckily for the fly, the ant starts yelling at him! The fly takes the ant’s lousy attitude in stride, and the two engage in a progressively funnier exchange that ends with a twist you won’t see coming, but will laugh out loud when you get there.
Arthur Yorinks has captured what it means to be in a lousy mood. Everyone will recognize and appreciate this Mean Ant, because we’ve ALL been there. Kids will laugh out loud, especially if you give it some spirit during a readaloud. The fly’s passive, sweet demeanor is a great foil for the ant, and their exchanges are laugh-out-loud hilarious as the story continues. My kiddo and I take turns being the ant and the fly when we read this together, and it’s pretty darned funny each time.
Sergio Ruzzier’s pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations have a great retro vibe, reminding me of picture books I grew up with: very ’70s Sesame Street watercolor schemes, and the facial expressions on the ant and fly are the perfect accompaniment to the story. Everyone will love One Mean Ant.