I saw this book on several blogs and decided to get it in the library. I only got to read it once, but I kept thinking about it since. In the book there is a dialog between the boy that is about to squish an ant and that ant. The book doesn’t say what the boy will do and leaves the answer to the reader. After that first reading Anna said that the boy should let an ant go. But obviously she has been reading and thinking about this book on her own, because suddenly we had the following dialog on the way to school.
Anna: During recess I want to hunt for ants. Squishing ants is fun.
Me (shocked): Why do you think it’s fun?
Anna: That’s what the boy in the book said. And his mama said that ants steal our picnic food. Ants are bad. We should kill them.
Me: When we go out to their home and picnic there, we need to protect our food, because it’s best if they eat what they are supposed to eat – dead insects or eggs of other bugs. If ants or other bugs come to our house, we get rid of them. But squishing them doesn’t work – we try to get them to move out. Killing for fun is a very bad thing.
Anna: But we kill for food, because killing for food is OK. I would like to go hunting with R (our neighbor who is a hunter) when I am older. I liked venison, and it comes from a deer.
I was amused with how she interpreted the lesson of the book. Why, after all, the boy should listen to that tiny annoying pest? His own mommy told him that ants are fair game. I don’t think that the author intended that, but Anna’s reasoning was not faulty for a three year old.
How do you treat bugs around you? Do you explain the difference between bad or good insects? Or is it, “Don’t ask don’t tell” in your house? And if your children read Hey, Little Ant, what did they think of it?