I recently read a wonderful children’s story translated from Spanish by Robert Croll. Juan Hormiga is a picture book written and illustrated by Gustavo Roldan for children ages 5 to 8 years old.
Throughout history and all over the world, there have been very many stories, fables, parables and even songs about the virtuous work ethics of ants. One of my favorites is the song “High Hopes”, sung by Frank Sinatra in the 1959 movie “A Hole In The Head”. Have you heard it? Look it up if you haven’t. It’s very inspiring.
When I think of ants I think, “busy, busy, busy”. Ants are the hardest working creatures in the universe.
So, this story, by Gustavo Roldan, of a lazy ant who napped many times a day intrigued me. To tell the truth, Juan Hormiga is not really lazy. He is one of the hardest working story tellers any ant has ever known. The other ants love to hear his stories and Juan works so hard at regaling them with tales of his grandfather’s adventures that he literally wears himself out. Many rejuvenating rests are in order for him.
Juan loves telling his stories but he can’t help wondering what it would be like to experience some adventure for himself. One day, he makes the decision to see the world. He promises the others that he will return with many new stories.
While Juan is gone, the ants can’t stop thinking of him. Their imaginations take over and they begin to come up with incredible tales of their own until he becomes an almost mythic figure. Then, a huge storm comes and they worry he might have become lost to them. What will they do? They must learn if he survived the storm. Will they ever see Juan again?
This is a great story about love, faith, adventure and myth building. The squiggly black-lined artwork, by the author, is reminiscent of the frenetic activity within an ant colony. Bright splashes of color draw the eye to important elements in the story.
I highly recommend this fable for parents to read to their children. It might inspire them to tell tales of their own. I give this book 5 busy ants!
Note: I am an Amazon Associate so if you purchase from these links, I will make a few pennies from the sale.