The Little Ant Who Was Told You Can't
by Timothy Ward

"'Well,' Jay muttered under his breath, 'We will see. Hopefully, I will be accepted by the other ants.'"

On his birthday, Jay the Ant is told by his parents that it's time for him to join the colony's work brigade. The next day, he is woken up at 5:00 a.m. to begin his career as a provider. To show individuality, as well as to rebel a little against group conformity, Jay wears his clean basketball jersey to work. A small group of his friends chastises him, saying that the jersey is inappropriate attire for the type of work that they do. Jay defends his sartorial choices. Tony, Denis, and Davis, as well as Mr. Deac—the patriarch of the colony—show Jay exactly what is expected of him. Throughout an arduous day of unanticipated chores, Jay learns that, indeed, his clothes go through a lot of punishment in the tracking and climbing to obtain food. He also discovers why his friends knew that he was inappropriately dressed.

Lucinda Ward, the author's spouse and co-parent, writes in the book's preface that Ward was a veteran of twenty-three years of military service, twenty-four years of marriage, and a father of four children. This wealth of experience not only in the discipline of military life but in the responsibilities associated with being a husband and father shines forth strongly in the tale. Inspired by an event that became the basis for the story, Ward effectively demonstrates that even when young people are shown how to do something correctly, they need to work through how to do it both to learn it correctly and own their experiences. Ward's wife wrote that her husband's "ability to incorporate thrill, excitement, entertainment, and humor" makes his book worth reading. His young readers will likely agree.

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