9781596434936Readers are drawn into the vibrant collage of colors on the first page of The Ant and the Grasshopper,  “Somewhere on the boulevard of backyards an ant was struggling with the remnants of a picnic.” Each page is equally as rich, packed with delicious vocabulary for young minds. The ant grew weary dragging her chunk of watermelon hoping  for “the smallest of breezes to cool her blistering forehead,” when she perked up to some magical music, thanks to a grasshopper buggy band. “Hoisting her load a little higher,” the conscientious ant didn’t take up the grasshopper’s offer to come grove with them, but forged on with a lighter heart. Appreciating the audience, the band decided to hit the road and accompany her home. At home, the ant was so thankful for the joyous noise, she wanted to repay the band, inviting them underground to a cooler venue, “making everything brighter.”  This picture book is loaded with concise, descriptive phrases, teaching more advanced vocabulary for the younger set. Too often picture books dumb down the language (I’ve even been told that by authors who have been instructed to keep it simple from their publishers), loosing an opportunity to build kids’ vocabulary. I’ve used this book to teach descriptive language and also to learn new words like, hoist, burden, heave, blistery, persevere, or weary. Thankfully these authors loaded their book with rich language.