Juan Hormiga by Gustavo Roldán. Translated from the Spanish by Robert Croll. Elsewhere Editions, 2021. 9781939810823
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Juan Hormiga is an ant known for two things: his propensity for frequent napping, and his love of declaiming his grandfather’s adventures. On the day that Juan Hormiga decides to go off to have adventures of his own, there is a terrible storm. All of the other ants in the anthill worry that Juan Hormiga has been blown away by the storm, and they decide to plant a flower in his memory. When a passing mosquito tells the ants that Juan Hormiga is actually sleeping in a nearby willow tree, they are disappointed. Eventually he descends from the tree, and Juan Hormiga regales his friends once again with tales of the adventures of his grandfather. And the ants do not seem to mind one bit.
Like many animal folk tales, this story has repetition and animal antics. The cartoon-like pen and ink art emphasizes the drollness of Juan Hormiga by depicting him in red, while the other ants are in black, and by giving him a little wanderer’s gunnysack.
Anything you didn’t like about it? “Hormiga” is “ant” in Spanish – I would have liked it if the translation had taken up that play on words by titling the book “Johnny Ant” or something like that.
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 3-6, fans of animal tales.
Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: February 16, 2021