by Shivanee Ramlochan, Paper Based Blogger
Andy, an inquisitive ant, meets Manti, a knowledgeable praying mantis, and the conversations between the two span educational topics in fun, informative ways, in this, Gregory Thompson’s series of environmentally-aware picture books for children. Vividly and colourfully illustrated by Rachael Frank, each primer investigates one major natural occurrence. In Book One, A Water Cycle Story, Manti explains the inner workings of the water cycle to Andy, showing him how each step that leads up to precipitation is important for the precious drops of water that fall from the sky.
In Book Three, A Food Chain Story, Andy’s nerve-wracking brush with danger in the silky clutches of a spider’s web prompts a chat with Manti on the unforgiving, fascinating nature of the structure of the food chain. Book Four, The Festival of Pollination, sees a reversal of roles, as Andy, usually the appreciative student, enlightens Manti on the importance of pollination. Andy emphasizes why it’s important for Manti not to greedily consume a busy honey bee in the midst of its important pollen transfer onto a passion fruit flower’s stigma. By the story’s end, both creatures have a renewed sense of admiration for the natural wonders of pollination’s crucial role in the plant life cycle.
The dialogue between this unlikely yet appealing duo is always wise and engaging, mixing scientific data with a storytelling style that’s exciting and readable. The books lend themselves wonderfully to being read aloud, each installation in the series deepening the friendship between Andy and Manti, while revealing useful, engaging facts about the environment and its inhabitants.
For more information on the series, visit Manti and Andy’s official website!