Friday, April 3, 2020

Review - Alice & Gert: An Ant and Grasshopper Story

Alice & Gert: An Ant and Grasshopper Story
by Helaine Becker
illustrated by Dena Seiferling
Date: 2020
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

It’s high summer in the meadow where Alice the ant and Gert the grasshopper live. Alice is hard at work preparing for winter, harvesting heavy loads of seeds. Meanwhile, Gert prefers to play, since winter is ages away. Gert dances through the long days of summer, singing, performing, and creating art out of flowers and leaves. Alice tries to convince Gert to work, but Gert wants to have fun—and to entertain Alice, too! She hates to see Alice work so hard.

When winter arrives, Gert’s nest is cold and her food supplies are low. But rather than refusing to share, Alice acknowledges the value of Gert’s work and the beauty of the art that lightened her load. Alice repays Gert’s kindness by sharing her hard-won food.

Based on the classic story of the ant and grasshopper, this is a modern fable with a heartwarming twist that values diverse contributions and honors friendship and the power of art.

(synopsis from NetGalley; see it on Goodreads)

This is a variation on the story of "The Ant and the Grasshopper"... but with a bit of a twist.

Alice the ant works hard every day to prepare for winter. Gert the grasshopper, on the other hand, prefers to sing, play make-believe, and create art. When winter comes at last, Gert finds that she doesn't have any food saved up. But instead of turning her away to starve, Alice offers to share with her friend; after all, Gert's amusements helped make Alice's work easier, and the ant feels it's only right to share the bounty.

I'm not a fan of the original story in which the grasshopper is punished for being itself. (And let's not forget the fact that a grasshopper doesn't live long enough to experience a summer and a winter.) I wasn't quite sure where the author was going with this, as I saw Gert doing such nice things for Alice while she was working, and I was afraid Alice was going to turn around and be nasty (like in the original story). I'm glad that wasn't what happened.

Alice & Gert is a sweet story about friendship, kindness, sharing, and placing value on non-material things. Fans of fables and animal characters will likely enjoy this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and Owlkids Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.83 out of 5

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