We all know kids can be wild about ants, too. If that’s the case, they might be interested in a new picture book I found at the library yesterday, Just Like Us! Ants by Bridget Heos and illustrated by David Clark.
The book is set up as a series of two-page spreads on different topics such as “Sister Cities” and “Bug Eat Bug Job.” You might not be able to see from the image of the cover above, but each spread features a photograph or two of real ants (photographs by Alex Wild) surrounded by cartoons.
Although the cartoon illustrations may make it look like this isn’t a serious book, don’t be fooled. Serious facts and concepts are discussed, but in a lighthearted way that will attract the most reluctant of readers. Throughout the author compares what ants can do to what humans do, making them more relatable.
What I like is it is not simply a rehash of older books. The author reveals recent scientific discoveries, such as how bigheaded ant larvae process food for the colony or how fire ants build rafts to float on water. That’s nice to see.
If you know a lot about ants, you might quibble about the wording here and there. For example, “all ants in the colony come from one mother” might make you pause if you know about polygyny. However, by and large it is a case of keeping things simple enough for children to grasp readily and it works overall.
Just Like Us! Ants gives an up close and personal look at how ants do things that are remarkably similar to the way humans do, and it is an accurate and informative introduction to the world of ants that is perfect for young readers. Check out a copy today.
Looking for more children’s books about ants? See our growing list (organized by reading level and genre) at Science Books for Kids.
Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017)
Found any good ant books lately?
Coming out in November (2012) is a new ant book from Yale University Press: A Field Guide to the Ants of New England by Aaron M. Ellison, Nicholas J. Gotelli Ph.D., Elizabeth J. Farnsworth, and Gary D. Alpert Ph.D.
The first author, Aaron M. Ellison, is senior research fellow in ecology at Harvard University’s Harvard Forest and also an adjunct research professor of biology and environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts.
Ellison talks about the “warm ants” project in this video. He also briefly discusses the importance of ants.
If you’d like to learn more, Yale Press has a summary of the book and Harvard Forest has an information page.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (November 1, 2012)
Coming out in paperback this month is Rick P Overson’s May 2011 Arizona State University thesis, Causes and Consequences of Queen-Number Variation in the California Harvester Ant Pogonomyrmex californicus.
Paperback: 118 pages
Publisher: ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing (July 17, 2012)
(Note: if you would like a free .pdf copy, google the title for a link).
Wild Bees, Wasps and Ants and Other Stinging Insects by Edward Saunders is an older book that is now available for free on Kindle. It is also available in a variety of formats at Gutenberg.
Do you know of any new ant books coming out or have you found any good older books? I’d love to hear about them.
Have you heard about the new ant books coming out this fall?
Kingdom of Ants: José Celestino Mutis and the Dawn of Natural History by Edward O. Wilson and José M. Gómez Durán is about José Celestino Mutis’ exploration of northern South America in the 1760’s. Although he investigated and explored in a number of scientific fields, this book involves his study of, you guessed it, ants! It is due to be released October 21, 2010.
Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press; 1 edition
If you can read Spanish, check José M. Gómez Durán’s blog.
Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct is the newest offering by Bert Hoelldobler and Edward O. Wilson. It is going to be a paperback and due to be released November 15, 2010.
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Original edition
Amazon seems to be offering a good pre-release price on the leafcutter ant one.