The Natural Genius of Ants Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
A summer ant farm grows into a learning experience for the entire family in this lyrical coming-of-age story from the award-winning author of Down to Earth.
"Endearingly executed, this gentle tale will see readers applauding as they reach the end.” –Booklist, Starred Review
Harvard is used to his father coming home from the hospital and telling him about all the babies he helped. But since he made the mistake at work, Dad has been quieter than usual. And now he is taking Harvard and his little brother, Roger, to Kettle Hole, Maine, for the summer. Harvard hopes this trip isn’t another mistake.
In the small town where he grew up, Dad seems more himself. Especially once the family decides to start an ant farm—just like Dad had as a kid! But when the mail-order ants are D.O.A., Harvard doesn't want Dad to experience any more sadness. Luckily, his new friend Neveah has the brilliant idea to use the ants crawling around the kitchen instead. But these insects don't come with directions. So the kids have a lot to learn—about the ants, each other, and how to forgive ourselves when things go wrong.
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|Listening Length||5 hours and 8 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||May 10, 2022|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #328,651 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#63 in Audiobooks on Bugs & Spiders for Children
#2,032 in Children's Books on Death & Dying
#3,199 in Animal Fiction for Children
Top reviews from the United States
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Grief is a major issue, although Harvard’s father is responsible for the death of an infant. Harvard and his younger brother Roger spend the summer in their father’s remote, small hometown. The hope is that his father will be able to forgive himself for a fatal mistake and finally return to his job as a pediatric doctor. The plot follows Harvard, as he tries to protect his father from sadness that includes the drama found inside an ant farm. It’s not a child’s job to save an adult, but the slow-moving lifestyle of Kettle Hole is a big help.
The serious aspect of the plot is tempered by the humor of Harvard and Roger. Harvard has a quick wit and can’t stop himself from cracking jokes and making funny comments. Wondering if terms are compound words or two separate words is an ongoing question throughout the book. Roger is the real treat, as his innocence and excitement result in amusing moments. Harvard soon realizes he needs to watch what he shares about the ant farm when Roger imitates ants by donning a bike helmet with antennas, crawling around on the floor, searching for food. Roger also believes a young girl named Nevaeh can control the weather, and he’s amazed when she makes it “snow”. His character adds cuteness to the plot.
Nevaeh becomes Harvard’s best friend, and her positive attitude amid a challenging life is admirable. She recently lost her mother to cancer, she suffers from asthma without medication, her father is struggling with money issues, and they’re living in a barn while Harvard’s family rents their house. She has a special talent for writing poetry that creatively expresses her feelings about events and people in her life. She helps Harvard care for the ant farm, and he ends up saving her family in a big way. Together, Harvard and Nevaeh make a charming, entertaining pair of loyal friends.
What didn’t work as well:
The thread holding the story together is the ant farm, and while interesting, it doesn’t exactly create anticipation of a captivating story. However, you can’t judge a book by its cover! I especially enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the story, and the grieving doesn’t take it in a depressing direction. The overall story is charming, amusing, and entertaining.
The Final Verdict:
A story of healing, family, and love. This book may surprise readers, but it’s truly captivating and inspiring. It doesn’t have any unusual twists or complications and simply shares an emotional, realistic story about two families with serious problems. I highly recommend you give it a shot!
In the small town where dad grew up, he seems more himself. Then the family decides to start an ant farm, just like Dad had as a kid. Then bummer, the mail-order ants seem very sluggish, no the ants are just dead. Harvard has a tender heart and doesn’t want Dad to experience any more sadness. Luckily, his new friend Neveah has the brilliant idea to use the ants crawling around the kitchen instead. But these ants are a different species from the ones intended for the enclosed directions. Well, the kids have a lot to learn, about the ants, each other, and how to forgive ourselves when things go wrong.
Main character, Harvard, is such a likeable character and just wants to make sure his dad gets better. I’m sure there will be readers who will relate to having a parent experiencing sadness/depression. A child shouldn’t be in this,position, but it happens,
A truly positive message is that grown-ups make mistakes, too, and that the consequences are not always simple.
The Natural Genius of Ants is a heartfelt novel that combines science into daily life. The book sent me to google to learn more about the hatching of the pupae.
This is a great book for young middle grade readers who are ready for deeper emotions in books, but not mature content. The father in this book has suffered a loss in his job-a preemie baby died on his watch-and he is devastated. Everyone in the family is trying to help him and eventually, him and the kids decide to go to his hometown. There, the main character Harvard, finds new friends and finds a way to help his dad-but also learns it is not up to him to help his dad.
I loved the ant farm in this book and the little brother!
A great coming of age story.