Booklist Reviews

Hard-hat-wearing ants hear a sound from outside their tree and assume the worst: an ant-hungry aardvark is waiting just outside the bark of their stump. One calm-headed fellow, however, drills a small hole to have a peek, and from there begins a growing puzzle that young readers will enjoy digging into, carried along by Hall's clever design and suspenseful storytelling. Each die-cut peephole lets in a ray of color and gives readers another clue, leading to increasingly amusing suggestions: it's an orange aardvark in blue pajamas! No, wait; it's an orange aardvark in blue pajamas carrying a large bottle of ketchup! The solution proves more recognizable than that, and savvy young readers will happily solve it just before the ants do. Using bold shapes and colors, Hall (My Heart Is a Zoo, 2010) stylishly keeps those young eyes locked in through to the "surprise" ending, which is only slightly undermined by a somewhat confusing final-page twist that could possibly be troubling for the youngest readers.a Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

A carpenter ant makes a hole from inside its tree stump; the colors it--and readers--see through the holes reinforce the (unfounded) fear that there's an aardvark on the other side ("an orange aardvark...wearing blue pajamas!"). The witty digital art, incorporating painted textures and torn paper, keeps pace with the ant's cumulatively wilder assumptions, which are swallowed by its gullible ant friends.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Hall's fourth bold, graphic picture book follows a crew of carpenter ants (you can tell by their hardhats) as they worry about what may or may not be outside their stump. One of the braver ants begins to chew holes in the stump (represented by small die-cut circles) to the delight of three of the others. "Like a window!" says one. "Sweet!" another chimes in. But a fifth ant is a worrier: "What if there's an aardvark out there? Aardvarks are gray and sneaky." When the hole reveals a spot of orange rather than gray, he quickly reshapes his hypothesis: "Oh no. It's an orange aardvark!" As additional holes reveal blue and red, the ant continues to assume the worst: "Oh no, no, no! It's a pajama-wearing orange aardvark and... it's carrying a bottle of ketchup!" Amid the hilarity and hyperventilation, the book also serves as an entertaining introduction to the colors of the rainbow, as the ants put each color in context ("Red like a fire truck") that readers will readily grasp. Ages 4–8. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. (Apr.)

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PW Annex Reviews

Hall's fourth bold, graphic picture book follows a crew of carpenter ants (you can tell by their hardhats) as they worry about what may or may not be outside their stump. One of the braver ants begins to chew holes in the stump (represented by small die-cut circles) to the delight of three of the others. "Like a window!" says one. "Sweet!" another chimes in. But a fifth ant is a worrier: "What if there's an aardvark out there? Aardvarks are gray and sneaky." When the hole reveals a spot of orange rather than gray, he quickly reshapes his hypothesis: "Oh no. It's an orange aardvark!" As additional holes reveal blue and red, the ant continues to assume the worst: "Oh no, no, no! It's a pajama-wearing orange aardvark and... it's carrying a bottle of ketchup!" Amid the hilarity and hyperventilation, the book also serves as an entertaining introduction to the colors of the rainbow, as the ants put each color in context ("Red like a fire truck") that readers will readily grasp. Ages 4–8. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Liza Dawson Associates. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 1—With an illustration style reminiscent of Lois Ehlert's and storytelling style similar to Eric Carle's, this tale of imagination succeeds in its bold simplicity. Five carpenter ants, with distinct personalities to delight readers, use the length of the book to discover what is making noise outside of their home. During the course of drilling holes to see what's causing such a ruckus, the ants explore color, revealing a magnificent surprise at the end of the book. The use of die-cut bore holes on each page build action and suspense in a way that readers and nonreaders alike will appreciate. Hall has crafted a book that works in a variety settings, as well. The use of color has application to early learning curricular needs, while the pace and flow of the text works well for read-aloud and storytime settings. Get ready to have another go-to favorite to pair with cherished titles like Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Penguin, 1969) and Ehlert's Color Zoo (HarperCollins, 1989).—Beth Dobson, Weatherly Heights Elementary School, Huntsville, AL

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