Friday, August 3, 2018

My brother, Ant by Betsy Byars illustrated by Marc Simont

My Brother, Ant is a superb book for a confident beginning reader as well as a warm expression of a brotherly relationship—love, annoyance, and acceptance included. Turtle and Robot

This is a very old book published in 1996 but it is still available which is excellent news because this is one of those perfect books. Perfect because it is very simple (32 pages) so can be easily read by a newly independent reader but, more importantly, it is also a warm-hearted, satisfying and very funny set of stories.

In these four short stories we meet Ant and his patient and wise (but also real) older brother.  Ant is scared of the monster under his bed. His brother (our narrator) offers to help.  "You can look ... but you won't see the monster. He hides from big people."  His brother is not put off.  He looks under the bed (the illustration on this page is important) and he tells the monster to move on.

The second story centres around a dispute between the two boys. His brother accuses Ant of drawing a spider on his spelling homework. Ant is adamant that he did NOT do this. The twist in this story is brilliant.

Story three is probably my favourite because I love to do this too. 
"Ant said 'Read me a story.'
I like to read
I said, 'Okay.'
Ant sat down by me.
I opened the book and began to read.
'Once up on a time there were three little figs.'
Ant sat up.
He said, 'No! That's not right. It's pigs. Three little PIGS. Say PIGS"

The corrupted story telling which continues is sure to make you laugh.  In the final story Ant asks his brother to help with a letter to Santa - but it is July!

My brother, Ant reminds me of the joy I found in Iris and Walter which is another story about sibling relationships. You might like to look at the ebook version of My brother, Ant.  I have also discovered another title about Ant.

Here is a page from My Brother, Ant

Other books to explore with terrific stories and also perfect for children who are just learning to read are:
Joe and Sparky, Superstars!
Mr Putter and Tabby fly the plane
Ling and Ting Not exactly the same!
Rabbit and Robot - the sleepover

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