Cover image for The ant bully
The ant bully
Nickle, John.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Lucas learns a lesson about bullying when he is pulled into the ant hole he has been tormenting.
Reading Level:
580 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.2 0.5 68881.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.9 1 Quiz: 14936 Guided reading level: K.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Lucas learns a lesson about bullying when he is pulled into the ant hole he has been tormenting.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-6. Lucas, a kid who wears "funny glasses and a strange hat," is picked on by Sid, the neighborhood bully. Lucas, in turn, bullies the pesky ants in his yard, terrorizing the colony with his squirt gun. He thinks it's all in good, harmless fun--until the ants attack, capture him, shrink him to their size, and put him on trial. His penalty is to toil as an ant laborer, gathering food, tending to the queen, and fending off spiders. Only then does he learn that bullying is wrong--even if he's bullied himself. The message is obvious and well worn, and the story becomes disconnected two-thirds of the way through, but children will like the colorful artwork--especially the pictures from the ants' point of view. They'll also relish Lucas' passive, yet sweet revenge on Sid. --Kathleen Squires

Publisher's Weekly Review

Miniature worlds can be big attractions, as the films Antz and A Bug's Life show. Unfortunately, this insect adventure, concerning a boy who mistreats ants, provides no basis for its fantasy plot and evokes little sympathy for its hero. Lucas, who wears a goofy propeller cap and nerdish glasses, suffers the taunts of a tough kid named Sid. After Sid blasts him with a water hose, Lucas gets a squirt gun and does the same to a colony of ants. Alas, Lucas is no match for his would-be victims, who use a magical green potion to reduce him to their size and then sentence him to hard labor. ("Don't you realize how long and hard we work to build what you destroy in seconds?" huffs the Queen, who lounges on a pink chaise, smoking through a golden cigarette holder and nibbling gumdrops.) Once Lucas learns a lesson in community, the ants restore him to his original proportions, then devise a predictable comeuppance for his hose-toting nemesis (shrinkage, of course). Nickle's fine-line acrylic illustrations accent the slender digits and mandibles of the black ants; except for the long-lashed Queen Ant, the identical drones, wasps and spider here are painted in entomological detail. The author credibly anthropomorphizes ant societies, stressing equality and cooperation. Yet the facile conclusion denies Lucas a chance to succeed on human terms. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Lucas's funny glasses and strange hat make him a perfect target for Sid, the neighborhood bully, and, since Lucas can't fight Sid, he tortures defenseless ants instead. Then the ants retaliate, and their queen shrinks Lucas to their size, forcing him into a life of hard labor with the worker ants. When he is given the supreme test of bringing the queen a red Swell Jell candy from his home, the boy shows his true mettle, protecting his partners from being swatted by his father. In gratitude, the queen returns him to his normal size, shrinking Sid instead. With the current popularity of the animated movies Antz and A Bug's Life, this title is timed just right for success, but the book falls short. The message is certainly clear, and Nickle's full-page acrylic paintings are bright, funny, and appealing. The text, however, is only average. The sentences are choppy, lack variety in their structure, and leave out potentially interesting details. Still, since the theme of a bully's getting his comeuppance continues to appeal to youngsters, the story is a suitable additional purchase for those collections in which books such as Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's King of the Playground (Atheneum, 1991) are popular.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.