An Anty-War Story

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Product Details
$17.99  $16.73
Andersen Press
Publish Date
8.2 X 10.4 X 0.7 inches | 0.79 pounds

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About the Author

Tony Ross is a prolific illustrator of books for children, including Martyn Beardsley's Sir Gadabout stories as well as his own. Tony has become one of the best known creators of original and traditional picture books, and his work has been sold all over the world.


"The story of a soldier ant that's true to ant colonies while also an allegory of war. In Antworld, everyone has their role. But one tiny newborn ant is different. He has a name: Douglas. As Douglas grows, he watches others carry food in a long, beautiful line. He wants to join that line, but that is not his job. He is to be a soldier to protect Antworld from enemies. He is proud of his uniform and gets to march in a formation while a band plays and other ants wave flags. But when Antworld comes under attack, there is no more pomp and circumstance. Large shells whiz straight toward the anthill, dwarfing it. A smoky, gun-powdered 'BANG' explodes across one spread. Ross then abruptly changes the narrative, with one double-page spread showing World War I soldiers advancing across a shattered, gray no man's land, the yellow of mustard gas and a smear of red in one corner the only spots of color; directly beneath the red is a typescript sentence: 'The end.' This is followed soberingly by a monument covered in nameless A's, with 'Douglas' included. The cover shows a smiling, cartoonish ant with rainbow lettering for the clever title. But the immediacy of the ending is the antithesis of all that charm. That is what war can do. Change life in an instant. Layered and shocking; to be read with the knowledge that a conversation on war will surely follow."--Kirkus Reviews


"In busy, thriving Antworld, young Douglas is the only ant without a job. Though aspiring to 'fit in . . . and be in the beautiful line' of ants ferrying food, his assigned role is different: to be a soldier. Donning a uniform and carrying a rifle, Douglas finally feels a sense of purpose and belonging, 'happy to be a soldier, and to be in a beautiful line' protecting Antworld. But then war comes, and the colorful, cartoonish portrayal of the ant community takes a darker, somber turn, in art and tone, first in the depiction of large bombs falling over the just-visible anthill, then in a more realistically rendered spread of WWI-era human soldiers progressing across a battlefield, followed abruptly by 'The End.' A simple, line-drawn memorial--Douglas' name stands out--serves as the book's epilogue. Ultimately, though the picture-book format and lively ant characters suggest an audience of younger readers, the multifaceted, complex allegorical approach, heavy subject matter, and story's conclusion make this better suited to a slightly older audience and adult guidance."--Booklist