I Have Ants in my Pants
Author: Julia Cook
Illustrator: Carrie Hartman
Publisher: National Center for Youth Issues (August 27, 2020)
Paperback: 32 pages
Age Range: 5 – 6 years
Children’s Books, Children’s Fiction
In I Have Ants in My Pants, Julia Cook helps normalize the feeling many kids have when they struggle to control their wiggles and provides strategies for improving impulse control.
Some children just can’t sit still no matter how hard they try. And Louis is no exception. He accidentally kicks his friend during story time. He can’t stand still in the lunch line. And he wiggles in his seat at the movie theater.
Everyone keeps telling him he has ants in his pants, but Louis doesn’t see any ants! Louis’ mom explains that this means he wiggles a lot, and she teaches him a special tool, the Wiggle Dance.
Wiggle and jiggle.
Jump up and down.
Shake your hands
and turn around.
Take a deep breath.
Scrunch up your nose.
Wobble your knees
and wiggle your toes.
With a little practice and a few helpful tools, Louis learns that he can calm his wiggles and become the boss of the ants in his pants!
This is a cute book about a young kid named Louis who gets the wiggles and everyone keeps telling him that he has “ants in his pants.” Every time someone tells him this he does this little internal monologue thing with an AA BB ABCB rhyming scheme that was actually kind of annoying. The rest of the book mostly doesn’t rhyme, except sometimes there’s a sort of forced sort of rhyming scheme. It just doesn’t flow well. Also Louis’s internal rhyme is so repetitive that my six year was rolling his eyes and literally yelling at the book “NOT AGAIN” by the end.
At the end Louis’s mom explains to him that he is a “verb” sort of kid who needs to be moving around and gives him some solutions to how he can learn to sit still, like by doing a wiggle dance before he needs to sit down for a while, making sure he has a personal space bubble, and having a fidget toy to help him pay attention. I think it got a bit about my boys’ heads during the advice for how to “be the boss of your ants.” That part lost my 4 year old’s attention, but was probably some good advice for my 6 year old (who is also a verb, and about to start Kindergarten).
Guest review by Jaime (age 6):
“You can’t see any ants because they’re inside, bro. He’s saying the same thing over and over. STOP SAYING THE SAME THING.”
Did you like the book? “Yes.”
Would you read it again? “Yeah, sure.”
Would you tell other kids to read this book? “Sure, if they want to.”
Guest review by Link (age 4):
Did you like the book? “Yeah!”
What was your favorite part? “The other guy had ants in him pants.”
What was your least favorite part? “The other guy and then next girl had pants in her pants.” (I … am not sure what this means, like I said, he stopped paying attention about halfway through.)
Would you read it again? “Yeah.”
Would you tell other kids to read this book? “Yeah.”
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.