Tuesday 14 February 2023

Lilly and the Ant

Lilly and the Ant by Louis White & Emma Stuart (White Tiger Media Productions) PB SC RRP $19.80 9780645286984

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Lily bites into a piece of bread, some crumbs fall onto the ground. She notices an ant scurrying away with a crumb to feed its colony. Fascinated by this strong creature, Lily chats to the ant to learn its story. A child’s view of the world is captured as Lily explores the world of ants.

Louis White is an award-winning journalist and writer. He has created The Adventures of Lily series to delight and educate children about bees, butterflies, ants, earthworms, and beetles. He shares their important roles in the environment and ecosystems that humans need to stay alive. He celebrates the way a child delights in small things.

White creates the story setting at Lily’s home. This makes the story world child-relatable and encourages a child reader to look for ants themselves. Once Lily meets an ant, she engages in dialogue with the ant to learn more. This feels natural and moves the story along at a good pace. White uses a question-and-answer format with rhyme. The second- and fourth-lines rhyme. ‘My name’s Lily’. ‘I’m delighted to meet you’. ‘Can you tell me your story?’ ‘I want to know what is true.’  The dialogue allows for ant facts to be introduced into the text easily and naturally. The vocabulary has child appeal and is fun. Soon we evolve into grubs known as larvae, tiny roly-polies, without eyes or legs. I love the message to watch ants and not touch them. It shows care and respect for animals while learning about them.

Emma Stuart’s illustrations sing, they are both warm and inviting. Stuart is an award-winning illustrator, and her watercolours bring Lily and the ants to joyous perfection.

Stuart is the illustrator for the books in this series. The front cover is immediately eye- catching with a close-up of Lily looking at an ant on her finger. She has captured the magical wonder in Lily’s face. The environment of both the house and the garden are gorgeous. The perspective zooms in out on different spreads. Lily’s size is lifelike as she gets down to ground level to talk to the ant. The colours are natural and appealing. Stuart has managed to showcase the friendship of Lily and the ant beautifully.

Lily and the Ant is a gorgeous picture book for children 3-8 years that’s also available in eBook and audio. Children who love nature and the environment will enjoy this book. Because it’s part of a series there’s the option to read the other books.

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