My four-year-old boy laughs at the ending every time and his older sisters put down their books to peek at the pictures when I bring this book out. It’s a cheeky story about an anteater who is bored with his diet of ants and daydreams about more appetising ways to eat them.
It’s apt that a story about a long-tongued anteater is loaded with tongue-twisting alliteration, particularly featuring the letter S. The anteater considers eating the ant “served in a sandwich … simmering in soup … (and, my favourite) sliced like salami”.
There’s big, bold illustrations of each of the potential meals and they’re fantastic. They’re just the right amount of silly, and the hapless ant is adorable. French illustrator and graphic designer Chris Naylor-Ballesteros has cleverly planned his pictures so each time you turn the page, the illustrations feature a new dominant colour, which is great for little ones still learning their colours. The endpapers are amusing too, with a line of ants parading across the bottom of the pages. At the front of the book, they’re carrying food they would find in nature but, at the end, they’re loaded with all the food dreamed up by the hungry anteater.
I’m going to eat this ant is a fun book to read aloud, particularly the surprise ending where the scheming ant triumphs. It just asks to be read with expression and exaggeration to make little listeners laugh.
I’m going to eat this ant is written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros, published by Bloomsbury, March 2017, $14.99 (pbk) ISBN 978140886990.