Once Upon a Story
October 23, 2015

Displaying THE TROUBLE WITH ANTS cover.jpgThe Trouble with Ants (The Nora Notebooks #1) 

by Claudia Mills, illustrated by Katie Kath

Published by: Alfred A. Knopf

Release date: September 2015

Ages: 7-10

Pages: 164

From the publisher:

Nora Alpers is using her new notebook to record the behavior of ants. Why? Because they are fascinating! Unfortunately, no one agrees with her. Her mom is not happy about them being in the house, and when Nora brings her ant farm to school for show and tell, her classmates are not very impressed. They are more interested in cat videos, basketball practice, or trying to set a Guinness World Record (although Nora wouldn’t mind that).
Mostly they are distracted by the assignment their teacher Coach Joe has given them—to write a persuasive speech and change people’s minds about something. Will Nora convince her friends that ants are as interesting as she thinks they are? Or will everyone still think of ants as nothing but trouble?

About the Author:Displaying Claudia_Mills (c)Larry Harwood (2).jpg

Claudia Mills is the author of over fifty books for young readers. She does not personally keep an ant farm, but she does have a cat, Snickers, with whom she curls up on her couch at home in Boulder, Colorado, drinking hot chocolate and writing. To learn more, and to download free curriculum guides for her books, visit her website at claudiamillsauthor.com.
My thoughts:
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Claudia’s work (you can read my other reviews here and here).  Picture books, chapter books, middle grade…it doesn’t seem to matter. Claudia’s voice is always authentic, her scenarios spot-on, and her characters the perfect blend of appropriately-aged angsty, and good-humored.
My first grader and I have most recently enjoyed the Franklin School Friends chapter books, which feature three friends, each of whom has their own unique talent (sports, math, science). Now Claudia is back with the first book in a new series for the same age group, The Nora Notebooks.  Despite the fact that this is a new series, fans of Mills will recognize Nora. She first appeared as a secondary character in the Mason Dixon series.
Isn’t it great when you meet up with old friends unexpectedly?
In The Trouble with Ants, Nora’s on a mission. A mission to convince the world (or at least her family and friends) that ants are more than pests. They’re fascinating! They’re strong! They’re intelligent! They’re…misunderstood! When the whole show-and-tell thing doesn’t work out, Nora turns to Plan B.  Her teacher, Coach Joe, has given her 4th grade class the assignment of writing a persuasive essay. Surely, surely, this is the way to show her classmates how awesome ants are.
So yes, this is a book about Nora and her ants. But it’s also a book about science ( packed with facts about ants, most of which didn’t know), about loyal friendships, about surviving the 4th grade, and even about loss. And as usual, Claudia Mills hits it perfectly.
Excited for what I’ve read. Excited for what comes next. Until we meet again, Nora…keep on investigating!


One response to “Review: THE TROUBLE WITH ANTS”

  1. Claudia Mills says:

    Thanks so much for the generous review. And good luck with your picture books!

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