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*2003 Boston Book Awards
The Ant That Can’t is a picture book with a powerful message. The message of the writer, Regal Watson, is something a child must hear every day during their growing years. A young person needs to hear that they are able to do anything.
Studies show children who are not encouraged and dismissed grow into people with low self-confidence. Children need to have confidence in themselves now to have that confidence later.
Regal Watson gives us Tincy, an ant. Tincy wakes up in the morning. He tells himself even before he starts his day, “I can’t.” He plays with his friend. His conversation is constantly a series of, “I can’t.”
One night he hears the wise and encouraging words of his father, “I bet you can!” Tincy, the following day, repeats the words to himself. He accomplishes something he has desired to do for a long while. What did the little ant accomplish? Read the picture book to find what Tincy accomplished with his new confidence.
The illustrator, Mary Jane Hartman Holzer, uses a pencil to create black and white drawings with shades of grey. The first page, the only in color, has soft pastel colors. Ms. Holzer’s drawings remind me of the Stuart Little’s illustrations. Especially, the one of Stuart’s bedroom with the matchbox bed.
Now, I am not a believer of writing in books. I had my little hands slapped a couple of times for doing so. The Ant That Can’t includes a sixteen-page journal. Each page has the heading, “I Bet You Can” followed by a direction. The direction is to draw or write something. I bet each child can follow the directions with those powerful words of encouragement before them.
Regal Watson has a simple message to the young reader. Negativity is a NO, NO!
Every child should have in their library books which stress positivity. The Ant That Can’t is a modern story with an old lesson.
Picture Books for Children
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