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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - AN ANT'S DAY OFF
An Ant's Day Off
by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Nina Laden
Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN: 0-689-82274-X
Ages 4 – 8 years

Working! Working! Always working! That sums up Bart’s life in AN ANT’S DAY OFF written by Bonny Becker and illustrated by Nina Laden. Moving sand from one tunnel to the next, day after day -- hey, that’s the life of a sand ant!

But it’s been said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So would that make Bart a dull ant? Everybody needs a day off once in a while . . . doesn’t he? A day to take in the wonders of the world . . . a day to pull the covers up over your head and dream.

It seemed that Bart was content with his life in the sand tunnel . . . until one day . . . the day he looked up and saw a glimmer of blue. That’s all it took. Bart threw down his shovel. He flung off his hard hat. Nothing, not even his friend, Floyd’s warning, “No ant has ever taken a day off – never in the history of antdom,” could stop Bart from scrambling toward the sun. Well, sometimes an ant just needs to look at the sky, now doesn’t he? I’m sure that children will scramble for this book when they want to escape from their busy worlds.

P. S.
I’m glad Bonny Becker and Nina Laden didn’t take a day off or this delightful book may never have been produced. What fun!

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“In AN ANT’S DAY OFF Bart and Floyd were in their sand nest,” said Lucy.

“Those ants were working,” said Zach.

“But Bart and Floyd had never seen the sky,” said Miguel, “or the rain, or the world.”

“So Bart took the day off,” said Hannah.

Keisha shook her head. “Bart shouldn’t have taken the day off,” she said, “He should have stayed at work.”

“Yeah, That was kind of bad,” said Hannah. “It’s kind of like taking a day off from school.”

“And, it wouldn’t be fair if he took a day off and all the other ants had to stay at work,” said Keisha.

“I think that if I took a day off I would be miserable,” said Lucy, “I would want to play with my friends and they would be at school.

“Right!” said Juan. “So you might as well stay in school.
And if you take a day off from school you are kind of lying.

“And, when you lie your tummy feels tingly because that means you are guilty.” said Miguel.

“Yeah!” said Zach. “When you tell a lie - after about ten minutes - your stomach starts to feel weird. You feel like you’re going to throw up.”

Pritka nodded. “And if you tell a lie your head will hurt.”

“You have this thing going through your head saying, ‘I should have told the truth! I should have told the truth!’” said Zach. “It just burns your head.”

“Once I took a day off from school just to go to the park,” said Pritka.

“Well, if I took a day off, I’d feel guilty and I wouldn't like it, but I would go to Florida,” said Miguel with a grin.

“I would spend my day at the library,” said Juan.

“Well, maybe he (Bart) wasn’t supposed to, but he did it anyway,” said Zach. “And I can understand why. He was trapped inside like a dungeon.”

“Yeah, Bart just wanted to see what was in the outside world,” said Pritka.

Juan nodded. “Every guy needs at least one look at the sun,” he said.



“Ants” means more than one ant. So what does “Ant’s” mean?

When children discover the apostrophe they can’t wait to use it . . . or more likely they can’t wait to overuse it. Children will take possession of the “possessive” concept by playing the “IT’S MINE” game.

Assign children letters of the alphabet and have them make up a phrase to show that someone or something owns something. In AN ANT’S DAY OFF – who owns the day off? The ant of course!

Bertha’s bubbles
Hannah’s hippo
Martin’s milkshake

Children should illustrate their work to depict their phrases.

To expand this idea, children can add an adjective to describe the noun.

Bossy Bertha’s bubbles
Horrible Hannah’s hippo
Maniac Martin’s milkshake

To take a step farther, have children write complete sentences. They may want to work in pairs or small groups. This is harder than it looks.

Bossy Bertha’s bubbles burst in the bathtub.
Horrible Hannah’s hippo hiccups under the hamper.
Maniac Martin’s milkshake made a mess.

When the alphabet is complete, bind all the pages into book form for a very early reading experience. Children will love to turn the pages of a book that they have written. Happy Writing and Happy Reading!

SOCIAL STUDIES – Community Workers

Ants are known as workers. There are sand ants, like Bart and Floyd, who are engineers. They build and maintain the tunnels of their underground home. But it takes many ants performing many specific jobs to keep a finely tuned nest.

Some ant jobs include nurses, who provide childcare and nourish the young. There are teachers and farmers. There are ants that specialize in climate control to keep the temperature of the nest just right for baby ants. There are foragers who provide food for the colony and there are guards who protect it. Hey, this doesn’t sound so different from our world. Does it? Children will discover how all jobs are important and all are necessary to make our world run smoothly . . . just as the ant world does.

Have children work in pairs or small groups to brainstorm as many jobs as they can think of. Record all job suggestions on chart paper. Then have children choose a job they might like to do when they get older and write a short paragraph about it. Younger children can write a sentence or two. Don’t forget to illustrate. The children’s writings can be bound into book form as a classroom book. Happy Writing and Happy Reading!

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

EDUCATION WORLD http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson087.shtml


TWO BAD ANTS by Chris Van Allsburg
HEY, LITTLE ANT by Phillip and Hannah Hoose, illustrated by Debbie Tilley
THE ANTS GO MARCHING illustrated by Jeffrey Scherer
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