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.
“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, Elementary School Counselor, Friendswood, Texas.
"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
"Hey, Little Ant makes you think, whether you feel stepped on or like stepping on others." --Arnie Alpert, Director, American Friends Service Committee, New Hampshire
Watch an Interview with Phil Hoose on Teachingbooks.net
Making of Hey, Little Ant Article from PeaceWork
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