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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“Go out! Go out! You are our scout./ We need a place to live.” That’s Timmy’s mantra. You see, he’s the family’s scout and it’s his job to find a safe, dry place for his community. It’s not an easy job and it’s certainly filled with danger. Timmy meets all manner of threats on his quest for a new, dry home: insects and bats that want to eat him and other large creatures that want to see him squished and deleted. Timmy’s an ant. Not everyone’s favorite insect, but he does have a job to do – an important job. And he must face his anxieties and fears to get his job done. Just like we have to face our anxieties and fears, even if it means confronting a tiny ant in our home.
Grayce Presnar’s picture book, The Scout Is Out, is a clever way to teach young readers that those pesky little insects we might hate or be afraid of are really an important part of our ecosystem. We need to protect them as their jobs are to protect our environment. The story is told in rhyming verse and Timmy’s repeated mantra changes as the story progresses, which will encourage young readers to chant and cheer Timmy forward on his quest. The language is simple to help young readers follow along. The illustrations add perspective to the story and help move the plot on. The story is both entertaining and engaging and will instantly become a favorite with young readers, even those who don't like ants.