Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants
(Gilbert Goes Green)

Written and illustrated by Diane deGroat
HarperCollins 2011
ISBN 9780061765117
Ages 4 - 8

Book Ordering Information


Gilbert has trouble coming up with ideas.  First he couldn't think of a springtime poem, and now he needs an idea for an Earth Day project! Everyone else in Mrs. Byrd's class is busy working on posters about recycling and saving water and electricity, but Gilbert wants to do something original.  A distressing class picnic inspires him, and he comes up with an Earth Day project that even Mrs. Byrd thinks is the best idea yet.  With vivid, lively illustrations and a timely story about how kids can really help the world around them, Diane deGroat shows readers of all ages that sometimes the simplest solutions are right in our own backyards!

From School Library Journal  Gilbert's class embraces springtime with poetry, picnics, and Earth Day projects, but Gilbert is jittery over his lack of ideas. While the other students come up with lines of verse and brainstorm projects, many of which show up in thought bubbles above their heads, Gilbert's are completely blank. Meanwhile Mrs. Byrd's gentle suggestion that wiggly Gilbert has "ants in his pants" has him noticing ants everywhere-and eventually they lead him in the right direction. The cartoon illustrations add detail to the story, and fans of Gilbert and friends will enjoy reading about their Earth-friendly plans in this latest addition to the series.

From Publishers Weekly  DeGroat's recurring opossum character Gilbert is frustrated that he can't come up with a poem about spring or a project topic for Earth Day -- especially since the other kids already have their ideas, like turning out lights and riding bikes. But his anxiety turns to inspiration when he finds that what he was looking for was in front of him the whole time, and he creates a presentation that satisfies both assignments. DeGroat's gestural animal characters genuinely convey common anxieties and classroom dynamics, and the green message is clear without being saccharine.

From Booklist Gilbert the young opossum wants to participate in Earth Day, but he has no ideas for a springtime poem. Ditto for an Earth Day project. But having a picnic in a dirty, empty lot sparks something. On project day, Gilbert takes his class to the lot, where he has planted a small tree. Hanging on the tree is his poem about spring. Big, colorful art is full of identifiable classroom moments as well as Earth Day ideas that never seem forced. A fun new look at a familiar concept.

The Children's Bookshelf Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! (Gilbert Goes Green), is an insightful, but playful look into the benefits of "going green."   Written and illustrated by  Diane deGroat, this story captures the importance of what each of us can do to make an a real difference in the environment around us.

Readers are introduced once again to Gilbert, the young opossum boy whose adventures have delighted young people for the past fifteen years.  In this adventure, Gilbert is once again struggling with an issue - this time identifying a unique idea for a class project. After discovering that a favorite school picnic site has become a littered mess, his teacher, Mrs. Byrd, challenges the class to think about ways that they can help their planet as part of the upcoming Earth Day celebration.

  Gilbert's friends seem to grab all the best ideas first and he is left to wrestle with finding something new and different.  His parents are helpful and give him lots of suggestions, but it's not until Gilbert takes a few minutes to sit quietly and look at his surroundings that he is able to discover his own contribution.

Class project day arrives and Gilbert's friends eagerly share their ideas: riding bikes to save gas; hanging cloths out on the line instead of using the dryer; recycling paper, plastic, glass, and metal; using cloth bags instead of plastic or paper shopping bags; and composting - which was the stinkiest of projects. When it was time for Gilbert's presentation, he held up a picture of a tree and told of the importance of trees for the health of the planet.  The best part of his presentation, however, was a class field trip back to the picnic area so everyone could see the new tree that Gilbert and his dad had planted for the school - a tree that other students would enjoy someday. This story is one that will teach the importance of respecting the earth and what a difference that kind of commitment can make to our future.  Diane deGroat has created illustrations that provide a sense of expressive detail that young readers will enjoy.

Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! (Gilbert goes Green) was written and illustrated by Diane deGroat is another delightful story of everyone's favorite opossum, Gilbert and is appropriate for ages 4 to 8.

This is Pamela Gates for the Children's Bookshelf. De Groat, Diane. Ants in Your Pants, Worms in Your Plants! (Gilbert goes Green). New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.