The Grasshopper and The Ants written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (2015)
The grasshopper is a musician and procrastinator. While the ants are busily planting and harvesting all summer and fall, the grasshopper invites them to play music with him and enjoy the beautiful days. Even into the winter, the grasshopper makes music and builds snowhoppers. But eventually he gets cold and lonely. He peers into the ants doorway and sees them warm and happy. Left out alone in the cold the grasshopper must rethink his choices. Finally the queen ant invites him in for a cup of tea. Grasshopper quickly accepts and enjoys the ants’ hospitality.
I knew I would give this story 5 stars even before I read it. Anyone who knows me, knows what a huge Pinkney fan I am! I have loved his books since he started illustrating Miranda and Brother Wind, The Talking Eggs, and The Patchwork Quilt. His artwork always draws me into a story. Soon afterwards, he began retelling and illustrating fables and folktales on his own. If you haven’t read any of his other works, do yourself a favor and fall in love with Jerry Pinkney!
Let’s talk about insects!
Talk a bit about insects with your preschooler before making these crafts. An insect has three body parts, six legs, and two antenna. Some insects have wings. Insects have exoskeletons, meaning their skeletal structures are on the outside of their bodies. Insects hatch from eggs and go through a metamorphosis as they grow into adulthood. Most insects are social animals and live in large communities like the ants.
As Jerry Pinkney reminds us in his Author Notes, the American grasshopper is actually more than 5 times larger than the harvester ant. But like him, in order to show facial expressions we cannot be rigid in our representation of them in our play either. Below are two examples of simple crafts you can make with your child to retell the story of the grasshopper and the ants.