"The ant children looked at the morsels desperately wanting to taste and play with the food but knew their parents forbade them from going into the kitchen."

Paulsen’s picture book is the retelling of a story her mother told all six children, and those children would go on to tell their own children. It is a story passed down through generations, each changing it a little with their retellings. The story follows a family of brown ants who live “behind the baseboards and under the kitchen cabinets” of a human family. The ant family hopes the humans will drop food from their dinners they can scavenge, but primarily the ants get their food from outside, wary of going on the kitchen floor. Eventually, the ant children begin disobeying their parents and gathering treats from the kitchen. However, the disobedience catches up with one ant, and he is caught up by the broom, eventually put in the kitchen trash bin, then the outdoor garbage, and ends up in a landfill. It takes years to get home, and he must avoid many dangers on his journey.

Paulsen’s story does many things well. There is plenty of danger out there for the ants, and this creates tension and gives the reader a reason to wonder at and anticipate what might happen on the next page. Also, it becomes an adventure story. The young ant who ends up being taken to the landfill is far from home and struggles many years to return, facing dangers along the way. The illustrations are interesting. Although not professionally done, the love and care put into them by a talented, amateur illustrator give them a certain charm. Many readers will love to follow this charming tale of the ant who disobeyed and finally made it back home.

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