“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween • First Chapter Book

Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween
By Megan McDonald • Illustrated by G. Brian Karas 
July 2010 • Candlewick Press • Ages 5-8
What a pair! From the creator of the Judy Moody and Stink series comes a charming duo with a most ingenious costume approach for Halloween.
Story: Only a few hours left until trick-or-treat, and Ant and Honey Bee still don’t have their costumes figured out.  With a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease, Ant and Honey Bee finally make a perfect, two-things-that-go-together pair of costumes for Cricket’s big party. But then — plip, plip, plip, PLIP! — it starts to rain, and by the time they arrive, the proud pair looks more like a matching set of soggy sad sacks. Maybe, though, if they put their heads together, the quick-thinking friends can turn their mushy mess into a smashing success. What a pair!
Story behind the story: “I wore a lot of hand-me-downs when I was growing up,” says best-selling author Megan McDonald, looking back on her childhood with four older sisters. “It was a BIG deal when my mom made hand-sewn pilgrim costumes for my sisters at Halloween. The only problem was, my sisters outgrew them, and the pilgrim costumes got passed down to me.  Year after year, there was always a pilgrim costume for me!”

Bor-ing!,’ as Ant and Honey Bee would say.

So Megan and her best friend took matters into their own hands and created costumes for themselves.  One year, they went as a banana split.  Another year, they transformed big cardboard boxes into — yes, it’s true — a washer and a dryer!  “Of course it poured rain,” Megan recalls.  “Our cardboard costumes were turned to mush. That childhood experience, and the pilgrim costumes, inspired this story.”

“Childlike and sympathetic, the characters’ antics and conversations will have broad appeal.” Booklist

“Filled with puns and lighthearted jokes. . . .Children will enjoy reading about how friendships can help them survive any disaster.” – School Library Journal

Looking for more early fiction? Visit Candlewick's website for more Candlewick Sparks!


wordwarrior said...

I just walked to the mailbox and was surprised with a wonderful treat for Halloween…Megan McDonald’s book Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends At Halloween! I sat right down to enjoy my treat and what a creative, joyful one it was.
Ant wants to be something new this Halloween. She and her friend Honey Bee decide to not be Pilgrims as they have been in past years and consider many other choices before deciding on a pair costume of a washer and a dryer. With the use of a couple of large boxes, they use their creativity to make their own costumes. The two friends are disappointed that no one recognizes what they are, and then to top it off they are caught in a rainstorm and their costumes are ruined. Still, Ant and Bee manage to have a good Halloween after all.
Ant and Honey Bee is a shining example of great beginning chapter book fiction created by McDonald. Language usage in the book is quite skilled. The author uses homonyms, idioms, and similes as well as factual information about ants and bees. The story is skillfully woven using the language elements making a delightful and entertaining story. The illustrations by G. Brian Karas are well done and adorable! Character development is also achieved within a limited amount of pages.
Ant and Honey Bee is a perfect book for advanced kindergarten through third grade readers, however, I can also see it being used in a life skills to functional learning disability setting with older students. Ant and Honey Bee provides so many ways to expand on the story in discussions about idioms…Ant had “ants in her pants”, or homonyms, “pear and pair” or even the use of creativity such as what does a washer sound like or a dryer sound like. I feel that both teachers and students would enjoy brainstorming different things to be for Halloween and making homemade costumes out of boxes.
This is one time I would love to have “Ants and Bees” with me on a picnic! I give it a 5!

booktoo said...

'Ant and the Honey-A Pair of Friends at Halloween',is a wonderful collaboration between Megan McDonald and G. Brian Karas. The story shows the delightful process one goes through to answer the question" What shall we be for Halloween????"
Two dear friends work together and pare down the list of costume possibilities.I really liked the creative ending! See for yourself how this perfect pair enjoy the holiday.

Barbara said...

Ant and Honey Bee is an engaging story that explores friendship, flexibility, imagination, and creativity. Some of the language (homonyms, idioms) may need some initial explanation, but the story flows well and the illustrations are perfect.
Although the central "problem" is Halloween based, this book could be used (and enjoyed) any time of the year.
Rating: 5/5

linda said...

I don't like the book...I love it! What an adaptable book. At first, I thought, Halloween...a once a year book. But as I read it, I thought of a myriad of ideas while using the book...opposites...homonymns...Onomatopoeia...friendship...problem solving...sequence....It is a book for elementary students worth having in your library. I give it a "5".

janette said...

I was so excited to receive Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween!
I decided it would be the perfect book to sit down and read to my 4 year old.
Some of the language was lost on her, but it provided an opportunity for a vocabulary lesson. Also, some of the dialogue between the two friends seemed a bit over her head, but the book is rated for 5-8 year olds, so i expected some of it to be over her head.
I really enjoyed how even after how no one knew what they were supposed to be and after their costumes were ruined, it didn't damper their attitudes any. They just kept rolling with it.
Overall, this book was lovely. At our house, we make our own Halloween costumes, so this book rang true with our family. We try to come up with creative things that we can make ourselves.
I think its one we'll read again and again!
I rate this book a 5/5.
Thanks for letting me review it!

Janssen said...

I loved the illustrations in this book - they are a PERFECT accompaniment to the text.

I was a bit thrown off by the maturity level of the text. The title and cover had me expecting an easier read - this is definitely more of a second grade book, rather than kinder/early first as I would have guessed.

I love that this is a non-scary Halloween book, without being too babyish. I can see using this in the library or the classroom for a discussion or lesson on pairs. Very clever ideas!

Makes me want to go make another Halloween costume!

Anonymous said...

This book was a delightful surprise just in time for Halloween! This charming story about Ant and Honey Bee has so many possible applications for socioemotional development activities along with the literacy skills already mentioned by reviewers.
Rating: 5/5

Anja, EdD/MLS

jgoetzke said...

A charming book with delightful characters. This book was shared with first graders who couldn't stop giggling at the antics of ant and honey bee. It worked very well for a dramatic read. This book could easily help support the teaching of friendship, collaboration, decision-making, brainstorming,creativity,and science (reuse). Overall, I would rate this book a 4.
Firstgrade GSLS, Wi

M. Battista said...

What a sweet Halloween treat! It reminded me of reading about Frog and Toad when I was young. Ant and Honey Bee are so charming I'm sure our students will enjoy reading about them all year long. I hope there will be more adventures to come from these two best friends.

Rating: 4.5

Denair Elementary School
Denair, CA

Carrie Blagg said...

This Halloween I was "treated" with a sweet of a book called Ant and Honey Bee, A Pair of Friends at Halloween. This book was entertaining from the beginning to the very end. I loved the endearing friendship between Ant and Honey Bee and the way they worked together to create their costumes. I also loved the play on words. I give this delightful book a 5 out of 5!

Carrie Blagg, Librarian Assistant
Paradise Valley

loonyhiker said...

This book was a lot of fun and I think young readers would enjoy it. Teachers could use this book to introduce topics such as Halloween, costumes, pairs, rhyming words, homonyms, friendships, creativity and even science (bees). The illustrations were cute and so was the story. I would give this book 5 out of 5.

Pat Hensley
Greenville, SC

Kimberly II said...

It was a cute book that made references to associations and pairs. Also, teaching the reader that being themselves is always important. The short chapters in this book can provide beginning readers some much needed confidence and a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. The illustrations were also fun to follow. We would give this a Picnic Basket 4 out of 5.

Mrs. Horne said...

This book is a great addition to my own child's home library. I thought the tale of two friends trying to decide what to be for Halloween was adorable but what I liked even better was the language used. This book also provides a myriad of teaching opportunities including opposites, sequence, and character.

Picnic Basket rating: 5/5

Julia Pitau said...

What a sweet story about friendship and compromises. I am looking forward to sharing this book with beginning readers at our school. It kept a smile on my face until the very end, when it turned into a laugh! I wish this book had come before Halloween, but that’s OK, there’s always next year.

Picnic Rating: 3

Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Julie said...

Too bad I got my copy right after Halloween! Megan McDonald has written a new story about friendship and the dilemma of what to wear on Halloween. It's an engaging story, but I wonder if the book will get to the intended audience. The cover looks like it will be a book for the kindy-1st grade crowd, but the text inside is definitely more mature. It reminds me in some ways of the adventures of Frog and Toad. It think this book is best used with second graders and teachers could use it for a study on homonyms and similes.
4/5 on the Picnic scale.

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

“Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween” is a very sweet collaboration between Megan McDonald and G. Brian Karas. Ant and her friend, Honey Bee, have decided to put their creative minds together and come up with new Halloween costume ideas. With charming illustrations and a rich beginning level reading vocabulary, the story tells of their ideas, making the costume, and their trick or treating adventure. Although their costumes aren’t recognized, their attitudes are positive, and stay positive even when a sudden rain damages their costumes. I appreciate that this is a Halloween book without any scary elements or a strong consumer message. I liked this book quite a bit and recommend it for addition into school and public library collections.

Rating: 5
Samantha Maskell, Youth Services Librarian
Rockingham Free Public Library

CC Childrens said...

This book begins with problem solving, decision making and just plain fun. How many of us have been in the same circumstance looking for a Halloween costume. The Ant and the Honey Bee is funny and the illustrations stimulate the excitement of the words. I would rate this book as a 5 for elementary use and demonstrating the importance of friendship.

Anonymous said...

This was a very cute book for beginning readers. Megan McDonald does a great job grabbing the readers attention. I enjoyed how she incorporated all the other insects when deciding on what to wear when trick-or-treating. This is a story that also works well for some struggling readers.

EL said...

What a fun book! This humorus book for early readers follows the Halloween adventures of friends, Ant and Bee. First, they must decide on costumes, then create the costumes. Once Halloween arrives they set out trick or treating only to discover that no one knows what they are! Written with Megan McDonald's exuberent sense of humor accompanied by G. Brian Karas's expressive adorable art work, this title a winner for young readers!

juli said...

What a fun story of friendship and creativity. I shared this book with my class even though it arrived just after Halloween. They loved it and said I should definitely use it with my class next year and our first grade buddies.
Rating: 5


Heather Hill said...

I was very excited to receive this book and hoped it would be a book suited for beginning readers. However, I discovered that it was much too difficult in vocabulary and concept for independent reading at that level. I read the book to my 5 year old. He enjoyed the book and liked the illustrations, but wondered why the book was so small. I agree. Such beautiful illustrations should grace the pages of a full, larger picture book.

This is a sweet story and will be an enjoyable read-aloud, but I would maybe project the book onto the Smartboard so that the kids can fully enjoy the illustrations.
I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise Elementary
Woodbridge, VA

Lemon the Duck said...

A very heartwarming story! Some definite back up and rereads in there with all of the play on words, but a fun story all around. This book lends itself easily to extensions in recycling, science, homonyms, idioms, and similes, character traits, just to name a few. The illustrations are adorable and inviting. Some fun science facts thrown in along with humor and a happy twist at the end. This is a high interest story and a winner all around. I rate this book a 5 out of 5.
Laura Backman
Hathaway School