Review of The Natural Genius of Ants

Posted May 17, 2022 by Stormi in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

Review of  The Natural Genius of Ants

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on May 10, 2022
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley

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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.

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.

Got this for review from Random House for an honest review! 🙂

Here is what I thought

Harvard’s father is a doctor and he made a mistake and a baby died and now he isn’t a doctor any more. Not because he was fired but because he can’t get over the mistake. It’s affecting the whole family so Marshall decides to take his two boys to a small town he grew up in called Kettle Hole. Harvard’s mom can’t come because of her work but thinks it’s a great think for Marshall to do.

While there Harvard meets Neveah who is the daughter of one of Marshall’s old friends. They are actually renting out her house as they need the money. Her mother recently died of cancer and they have a lot of bills and so her father is renting his house out to make money. They are living in the barn that her father converted into a living quarters.

While there their father decides they should build an ant farm because he use to have one as a kid. When the ants arrive that Harvard’s father orders they are dead. He doesn’t want his father to deal with more death so him and Neveah decide to replace them with regular house ants they find.

It’s basically a story about learning to deal with mistakes, that things sometimes take time but you have to move on. The reader learns a lot about ants and how the ants work together to do everything, even taking care of the queen’s eggs.

Harvard learns that he can’t fix his father even though he tries with hiding the dead ants, talking to someone else who has went through a tragedy, but those don’t really help as much as he hoped. He makes a great friend and even helps Neveah and her father.

It’s a sweet story about how a family spent their summer and over all it was a good one. My one problem was Harvards attitude sometimes and the fact that he keep asking if a word was one word or two. For example, his hailstorm one word or two (hail storm), this happened throughout the book and became very annoying.  Other than that I thought it was a sweet book.

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