The Trouble with Ants
Author: Claudia Mills
Illustrator: Katie Kath
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: Final copy from publisher
The trouble with ants is . . .
. . . people think they’re boring.
. . . they are not cuddly.
. . . who would ever want them for a pet?
Nora Alpers is using her new notebook to record the behavior of ants. Why? Because they are fascinating! Unfortunately, no one agrees with her. Her mom is not happy about them being in the house, and when Nora brings her ant farm to school for show and tell, her classmates are not very impressed. They are more interested in cat videos, basketball practice, or trying to set a Guinness World Record (although Nora wouldn’t mind that).
Mostly they are distracted by the assignment their teacher Coach Joe has given them—to write a persuasive speech and change people’s minds about something. Will Nora convince her friends that ants are as interesting as she thinks they are? Or will everyone still think of ants as nothing but trouble?
With real science facts, a classroom backdrop, an emphasis on friendship, and appealing black-and-white interior illustrations from artist Katie Kath, The Nora Notebooks is perfect for newly independent readers—especially budding scientists like Nora!—and adults who want to encourage awareness of STEM subjects in young readers.
Review: Nora has a questioning mind. She wants to know everything about ants. She has a notebook, an ant farm and she can spend hours at a time just watching them do their thing. She is also gets the idea to write an article about her ants for a scientific journal.
I found Nora's enthusiasm for ants to be quite fun. She also likes to kick at the notion of traditional gender roles. She understands why society has such ideas, but she does not believe these beliefs should dictate her behavior or likes and dislikes.
There are plenty of laughs within the story. There are also many facts. Nora shares information about ants throughout the book. Budding scientists and fans of Kate Messner's Marty McGuire will be sure to enjoy Nora and her beloved ants.