By Phillip and Hannah Hoose
Published by Tricycle Press,
Random House Inc.
Hey, little ant down in the crack
Can you hear me? Can you talk back?
See my shoe, can you see that?
Well now it’s gonna squish you flat!
About the Book
Written first as a song in 1992 by Phillip Hoose and his then 9-year-old daughter, Hannah, Hey, Little Ant is a rhyming dialogue staged beneath an upraised shoe. The song’s lyrics became a picture book illustrated by Debbie Tilley six years later when it was published by Tricycle Press. The protagonists of the story are a plucky Ant and the Kid about to carelessly squish it.
Tension builds as the ant states a compelling case for its survival while the kid’s friends gather round to taunt the kid for hesitating. The final line of the book is a question–“What do you think that kid should do?”–leaving the decision squarely in the hands of the reader.
Because the book asks children to decide the outcome, it has proved to be a widely used “icebreaker” for educators and caregivers to discuss with children everything from bullying to the use of force to the ethical treatment of animals. Because of the universality of the message, the book has been translated into 10 different languages and has sold over one million copies.
Visit the Hey, Little Ant webpage
Watch an interview with Phil Hoose on Teachingbooks.net
Watch Hoose’s Commencement Address based on the book
Read about the creation of Hey, Little Ant in PeaceWork Magazine
Awards & Accolades
Honor Book, Jane Addams Peace Association;
Reading Rainbow Book
Scholastic Book Club Selection
“A masterpiece for classroom guidance…a terrific tool for fostering tolerance and respect for diversity in children of all ages.” –Teaching Tolerance Magazine
“What a great book!” –Pete Seeger
“Hey, Little Ant is a character educator’s best friend. The two great characters, the mounting tension, and the open-ended question at the end lead naturally to classroom discussion. It’s a little masterpiece. There are entire websites dedicated to how to use Hey, Little Ant in the classroom.” –Barbara Gruener, Elementary School Counselor, Friendswood, Texas.
“Hey, Little Ant is the perfect tool to help inspire compassion in our world’s youth, and has a positive message for grown-ups, too! Share this book and its lessons with your family today.” –Dr. Jane Goodall
“Hey, Little Ant makes you think, whether you feel stepped on or like stepping on others.” –Arnie Alpert, Director, American Friends Service Committee, New Hampshire