Books for children

Mary Arrigan has some great books for children this week.

I’m Going To Eat This Ant by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (Bloomsbury, €7.90)

The cover leaves us in no doubt as to who the bad guy is here. The only question to be decided is in what way the anteater will prepare his meal.

In a litany of letter -S- inspired cooking methods, the choice ranges from simmering to stir-fried. The ant’s woe-bego-ne expression changes to delight at the end as the anteater has delayed too long and is now a captive of the small army of ants. This is as much a commentary on cooking choices as a comic look at the animal kingdom. Suitable for age four and upwards.

Once Upon A Jungle by Laura Knowles and James Boast (Words And Pictures, €14.74 HB)

The ants don’t fare as well in this highly coloured book which leans more towards Darwin than Kipling. The main character is actually the jungle itself, and so all its inhabitants’ lives are subservient to the jungle’s survival and welfare. The ants are preyed on by a mantis who is shortly a tasty dinner for a lizard, and so on.

A panther, who has grown old, becomes a habitat for a colony of beetles and thus the soil is fertilised.

The splendid illustrations show the jungle in all its brilliance, and a more detailed explanation of plant life, sunshine , nutrients and decomposers follows to round off an inspiring volume. Suitable for age four and upwards.

The Cave by Rob Hodgson (Frances Lincoln, €13.60 HB)

A hungry wolf, who gets more frustrated by the minute, tries to tempt a tiny cave-dwelling creature to come out and join him for supper- rather, as his supper.

In very funny dialogue he offers friendship, football and flower-picking expeditions all to no avail. The creature is quite happy to remain where he is. Finally, after months of trying, he hits on doughnuts as the ultimate weapon, which succeeds when he tells the creature that there are actually sprinklings on it.

Readers will love the build up of tension and the humorous illustrations especially one where the wolf is patiently reading ‘Cooking For One’. The twist at the end is pure brilliance. Suitable for age four and upwards.


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