One Mean Ant with Fly and Flea and Moth

Candlewick. (One Mean Ant). Oct. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763683962.
Gr 1-3–This book closes out a picture book trilogy that’s partly about the value of having friends but mostly about silly wordplay and Abbott and Costello style repartee. The story picks up where One Mean Ant with Fly and Flea left off—with the titular insects forced to perform in a flea circus for “only a drop of sugar water and a crumb, one crumb, for meals. No day off. No rest. No nothing!” After much squabbling about who’s to blame for this predicament, Ant fashions an escape plan that hinges on persuading fellow prisoner Moth, permanently dazed from crashing against a light bulb (“It’s a comedy act.”), to fly away from the light for once: “‘The fly flies with the flea?’ asked the moth. ‘No, no, no, the fly flies with me while you fly with the flea,’ said the ant.” Ant is nearly left behind, but all are last seen winging away toward the full moon after the others bravely fly back to snatch him up. “They were friends, after all.” If Yorinks natters on at perhaps unnecessary length his narrative’s staccato pacing will elicit chuckles from a listening audience, and Ruzzier’s scowling, choleric pismire headlines a properly clownish gang of googly eyed, improbably hued bumblers.
VERDICT An optionally standalone episode, with enough verbal foolery and exaggerated emotion to keep everyone amused.

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