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The City Under The Back Steps: A Children’s Book About Ants

Are you interested in old books about ants? The City Under the Back Steps by Evelyn Sibley Lampman and illustrated by Honore Valintcourt is a children's book about ants that was published in 1960. It is out of print, but you can buy a used copy (if you don't mind paying quite a bit of money). The reason it is expensive is that it is actually a very good book.

The premise of the story is a boy and a girl are shrunken to the size of ants. Suddenly their back yard becomes a terrifying jungle full of dangers and wonders. They are taken underground into an ants' nest where they meet the ants' pet cricket, learn about the life cycles of ants and have a number of adventures. Think of the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids with a much more accurate representation of the life of the ants.

Thanks to my friend Robyn, I was able to listen to the book on CD. She had discovered that Chinaberry has set of CDs for $19.95. Edit:  Sorry, no longer available.

If you like stories that mix sweeping imagination with a great deal of detailed natural history, then you just might want to give it a try.

Have you ever seen this book?

Hardcover: 210 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (1960)
Language: English
ASIN: B0007E119S

Note: I have an affiliation with Amazon. If you click through this link and buy a book or CD, I will receive a small commission. I have no affiliation with Chinaberry.

13 thoughts on “The City Under The Back Steps: A Children’s Book About Ants

  1. Roberta

    Cool!

    I think the author did a great job incorporating fact into fiction in a really memorable way.

  2. Mark

    I red this book in the late 1960s. I remember feeling disappointed when I finished because I felt that I had established a friendship with the characters. It was an exceptional book. I wish it was back in print as I would love to buy it for my grandson.

  3. Roxane

    I read this book as a child..I remember I checked it out from the library...that's over 50 years ago but it made such an impression on me, obviously ...I would love to find a copy of it.

  4. Risea

    I've searched for this book for years. The beginning of my life long love of nature.

  5. Debbie Kellogg

    I read this 50 years ago and just thought to add it to the list of ten influential books in my life. Though I have read many more sophisticated books, this book was instrumental in igniting my love of reading.

  6. Vicki Munn

    Oh my gosh. Thanks to this little blog I finally have found the name of this book. I remembered the story, but not the title. I have been trying to find the title for many years as I wanted to share it with my children. Now all these years later, I can look for it to share with my grandchildren! I read it in a part of my 7th grade "enrichment" class in 1964. It has remained vivid to me for all this time.

  7. Roberta

    If anyone ever re-releases this, I'm sure a lot of people would like to buy it.

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