Chris Van Allsburg’s art is intricate and evocative using a limited palette and fine drawings to highlight the escapades of two bad ants who vacate the group in order to whet their own appetites. This modern fable has a moral: Doing what’s best might be sticking with the group instead of going out on your own. In our individualistic culture, this concept is maverick. Groupthink is not popular in America, but this book has a good point about working for the greater good rather than a night of pleasure. Also, sugar gluttony can get you into all kinds of trouble.
Extreme close-ups are fun to deduce with kids, and while many clues to human culture are given in the book, Van Allsburg stays true to the ant perspective. It invites looking closely at everyday objects and imagining what our impact is on our surroundings. Force, electricity, ant habitats and culture are all science links extracted from Two Bad Ants. Teach perspective from both an art and literature point of view. Use the story as a springboard for creative writing. What if you were one of the ants on a different group escapade? What would you stay behind to experience?
Find helpful activities at http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/hmco/TwoBadAnts_TG.pdf