The Book


Locate the Book at Amazon | IndieBound |
Locate the Book in Spanish at Amazon


Now 20 years in print!

Written first as a song in 1992 by Phillip Hoose and his then 9-year-old daughter, Hannah, Hey, Little Ant is a rhyming dialogue staged beneath an upraised shoe. The song’s lyrics became a picture book illustrated by Debbie Tilley six years later when it was published by Tricycle Press. The protagonists of the story are a plucky Ant and the Kid about to carelessly squish it.

Tension builds as the ant states a compelling case for its survival while the kid’s friends gather round to taunt the kid for hesitating. The final line of the book is a question–“What do you think that kid should do?”–leaving the decision squarely in the hands of the reader.

Because the book asks children to decide the outcome, it has proved to be a widely used “icebreaker” for educators and caregivers to discuss with children everything from bullying to the use of force to the ethical treatment of animals.  Because of the universality of the message, the book has been translated into 10 different languages.


Hey, Little Ant is the perfect tool to help inspire compassion in our world’s youth, and has a positive message for grown-ups, too! Share this book and its lessons with your family today.”
Dr. Jane Goodall

“What a great book! Phil Hoose and his daughter Hannah are carrying on the tradition of Dr. Seuss.” —Pete Seeger

“By giving us the ant’s point of view, this delightful little book may help change our own.” —E.O. Wilson

Hey, Little Ant is a character educator’s best friend. The two great characters, the mounting tension, and the open-ended question at the end lead naturally to classroom discussion. It’s a little masterpiece. There are entire websites dedicated to how to use Hey, Little Ant in the classroom.”
—Barbara Gruener, Award-winning Character Educator, The Corner on Charcater

Hey, Little Ant makes you think, whether you feel stepped on or like stepping on others.”
Arnie AlpertAmerican Friends Service Committee