An Anty-War Story is about an ant desperately wants to be unremarkable.
Illustrated in Tony Ross’s inimitable style, this book asks big questions. It is about an ant who wants nothing more than to belong and to be ordinary. This is difficult when he is the only ant in the colony to be endowed with a name from birth. Initially, Douglas questions why the other ants only seem to form straight lines and move food about. Douglas considers ‘Let’s not talk about it’ to be a ‘fine answer’ and he accepts the status quo.
He is disillusioned though, when he realises that he has no real role in the community. However, all is not what it seems. The tone of the book changes here. What started out to be a humourous and light-hearted look at fitting in, suddenly shifts to the consequences of mindless conformity.
An Anty-War Story is a very layered and thought-provoking book that, in the hands of a good teacher, will lead to rich classroom discussion about belonging, conformity and war. Ross argues that ‘it is only by understanding [war] we can find better solutions. The more we understand something, the more we can be in control, and limit it.’
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