The Ants and the Grasshopper: An Exhibit of Children's Books and Illustrations

February 15, 2019 | TPL Staff

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The Ants and the Grasshopper

We invite you to The Ants and the Grasshopper: An Exhibit of Children's Books and Illustrationslocated at the Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books on the fourth floor of the Lillian H. Smith branch.  It is a remount of Along Came a Spider: A Celebration of Insects and Spiders in Children's Books. Developed by Martha Scott, it was on display from June 7 to September 5, 2008. We are now exhibiting a slightly smaller selection of works from the late eighteenth to early twenty-first centuries. 

The exhibit runs from Saturday June 15, 2019 through Saturday September 7, 2019 and is open during the Osborne Collection's regular opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday, 10 am - 6 pm.
  • Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm.

It's free! All are welcome!

A Preview

From The Ants and the Grasshopper, to James and the Giant Peach, children's books are full of stories about insects and spiders. Come explore fables, folktales, fairy tales, poetry, nursery rhymes, and natural histories about ants, grasshoppers, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, spiders, and more! 

Insect Life Displayed

The Beauty of the Beast

The Beauty of the Beast, 1997.

“Poems from the animal kingdom,” selected by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Meilo So. Published in New York by Alfred A. Knopf.

The Tenants of the Air

The Two Flies

The Two Ants (verse)

The Two Flies, 1847.

“A moral song.” With illustrations by F.V.B. Published in London by Joseph Cundall.

A Most Unpleasant Brute

The Utter Zoo 1967

The Utter Zoo, 1967.

“An improbable menagerie for Sunday’s child,” written and illustrated by Edward Gorey. This is the first edition, published in New York by Meredith Press.

Does is Buzz?

The Bee-Man of Orn

The Bee-Man of Orn, 1964.

An absurd story by Frank R. Stockton, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Published in New York and elsewhere by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. This copy has been signed on the half-title by the illustrator.

The Butterfly's Ball

The Butterfly's Ball 1874

The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast, 1874.

By R.M. Ballantyne. Published in London, Edinburgh and New York by T. Nelson and Sons. This extended prose version of The Butterfly’s Ball and Grasshopper’s Feast was first published in 1857.

Lessons on Entomology

A Week Spent in a Glass Pond 1882

A Week Spent in a Glass Pond, 1882.

“By the Great Water Beetle. Written by Juliana Horatia Ewing. Depicted by R. André.” Published in London by Wells, Gardner, Darton & Co.

Very few beetles have ever seen a Glass Pond. I once spent a week in one, and, though I think, with good management, and in society suitably selected,
it may be a comfortable home enough, I advise my water neighbours to be content with the pond in the wood.

I Found a Little Beetle


Insectlopedia, 1998.

“Poems and paintings by Douglas Florian.” Published in San Diego and elsewhere by Harcourt Brace & Company.

Ladybird, Ladybird

The Grouchy Ladybug

The Grouchy Ladybug, 1977.

Written and illustrated by Eric Carle. Published in New York by the Thomas Y. Crowell Company. The gift of Rosemary Livsey.

Along Came a Spider

Anansi the Spider

Anansi the Spider, 1972.

“A tale from the Ashanti.” Adapted and illustrated by Gerald McDermott. Published in New York, Chicago and San Francisco by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. American film-maker and illustrator Gerald McDermott interprets this traditional tale about West African folk hero Anansi.

The Talking Cricket Was Right

The Very Quiet Cricket

The Very Quiet Cricket, 1990.

Written and illustrated by Eric Carle. Published in New York by Philomel Books. An electronic chip hidden inside the back cover mimics the chirp of a cricket when the book is opened wide.

Advice from a Witchety Grub

Two Bad Ants

Two Bad Ants, 1988.

Written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. Published in Boston by the Houghton Mifflin Company.

Have You Seen Bugs?

Have You Seen Bugs

Have You Seen Bugs? 1996.

The rhyming text is by Joanne Oppenheim. The astonishingly lifelike pictures were created by Canadian artist Ron Broda, who describes the process as follows: “The illustrations for this book were made with paper sculpture and watercolour. Each layer of paper was cut, formed and painted before being glued into place. The finished sculptures were then carefully lit and photographed to create the final image.” Published in Richmond Hill by North Winds Press, a division of Scholastic Canada.

Wings and Stings

The Very Lonely Firefly

The Very Lonely Firefly, 1995.

By Eric Carle. Published in New York by Philomel Books. Tiny battery-powered lights simulate the flashing of fireflies on the final page of the book.


Hope to see you there!

Griffin - Stubbs

With thanks to Martha Scott and Yuka Kajihara-Nolan.