LITTLE ANT & THE EPIC BATTLE - $10.00
"And as the germs infiltrated, all the world watched and waited."
When the little ant faces a germ invasion, he must call on his colony and good friends for help. An epic battle ensues, and in the end, it is up to the smallest bugs to save the human race. Can they do it? Check it out and see!
To purchase Little Ant & the Epic Battle, please click here: Amazon.com.
I wrote this story at the height of NJ's coronavirus outbreak. The entire state was on lockdown, schools were closed, and we were afraid to leave our homes, even for groceries. It was such a dark time. Yet out of the darkness, came a little bit of light — the inspiration behind my new book Little Ant & the Epic Battle.
But that light didn't come quickly! When the pandemic first hit, I (like many) was filled with fear and anxiety as I put my own career aside to homeschool my children. I couldn't find my inspiration! I was on autopilot, just trying to get through another day.
And then, everything changed. One night, I had gone out for my millionth walk (because that's all we were allowed to do!) and instead of walking straight, I turned right. I am so glad that I did! I ran into my sons' old daycare teacher, and a good friend of mine. We chatted for a while, and out of an ordinary conversation, came this incredible spark of an idea. It was all I needed to start writing again!
Little Ant & the Epic Battle was written the very next day. That was exactly 2 months ago. It is now available on Amazon and it is by far, my favorite story. It is so personal to me. It taps into the uncertainty of our time, uses real-life details and events, and explores the virus in a way that children can understand. It is entertaining, educational, and above all, empowering.
I really loved writing this book. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Ilene Dudek, author and illustrator of the Little Ant children's series, presents her sixth book Little Ant & the Epic Battle. This colorful picture book features the lovable little ant and his battle against an army of angry germs. Inspired by the 2020 pandemic, this modern-day fairy tale explores the virus in a way that children can understand: villains attack, heroes emerge, battles are won. In the end, the little ant tries to accomplish what others could not—to defeat the virus and save the world.
Written at the height of New Jersey's coronavirus outbreak, Little Ant & the Epic Battle features many subtle details that tap into our current-day events. Whether it's a sneeze heard around the world, armies standing six feet apart, or bumblebee fighter jets symbolizing the Blue Angels & Thunderbirds' flyover; Dudek weaves everyday moments into this fantastical story. By adding a creative spin to real-life events, she offers a lighthearted view of the battle we're all facing today.
Since its inception in 2017, the Little Ant series has grown in popularity among the parenting community. Little Ant books address common childhood problems, like tying shoes and bullying, and teach lessons in humorous, yet powerful ways. Little Ant & the Epic Battle follows suit. Ilene shares her inspiration, "We were in the middle of the pandemic and New Jersey was getting hit hard. The state was shut down, schools were closed, and it was becoming a very dark time in history. I needed to add a little bit of light, and hope, in the only way I knew how."
Ilene Dudek is a Nutley author with a background in advertising. After several years as a copywriter, she was offered the opportunity to change her path and follow her dreams. She now writes and illustrates a Little Ant children's series, inspired by her own life experiences. Ilene has participated in over 30 local author events, including a book signing at Barnes & Noble, and has been featured on "Spotlight New Jersey"—News 12 New Jersey. She plans to continue writing her Little Ant series and sharing her books with the local community.
For more information about Ilene Dudek and her Little Ant series, please visit: www.littleantstories.com.
LITTLE ANT ON THE GO - $10.00
"He was hooked like a worm and thrown to the fishes, and one of them thought he was truly delicious!"
The little ant is about to go on a big adventure! After being flushed down the toilet, he journeys through sea, space, and bustling city streets to find his way home. He escapes hungry fish, flying baseballs, and even engages in a high-speed scooter chase. Through it all, he manages to have a lot of fun. He takes a ride on a whale's waterspout and treats himself to a delicious cupcake from the local bakery. The little ant is on the adventure of a lifetime; but can he make it home before dark? Check it out and see!
To purchase Little Ant on the Go, please click here: Amazon.com.
It all started one day, when my son Alex was potty-training. As he sat patiently on his Elmo potty, he asked me to tell him a story. If anyone has been down this road before, you know that this moment in time could take a while. So there I sat, spinning a tale for him to enjoy.
This is what inspired the first few pages of my book. This is where it all began. As I let my imagination run wild, he said to me, "And then what? And then what?" And so the little ant was born—making his way through a crazy world, running into many silly characters, and going from one adventure to the next.
I had always wanted to write a children's book, so I later took pen (and marker!) to paper, and wrote and hand drew my story. At times, I attempted to edit some details, but Alex was quick to remind me that I'd forgotten something. He was my audience, and my boss. He kept me on track with the story a 3-year-old wants to hear.
I believe this book started with my son, but was always inside me—as both boys keep me very much on the go. They are fun-loving, active kids who are always looking for the next big adventure. They find the fun in everything they do, and remind me every day to do the same!
My kids are always on the go and looking for the next big adventure!
Check out this Super "Bowl" commercial featuring the little ant!
LITTLE ANT HEARS A NOISE - $10.00
"Swirling, whirling all around, what on earth could be that sound?"
It's bedtime in the little ant household. But as the lights go off, the noises come out! Radiators rattle, tornadoes twirl, and neighbors get noisy. The little ant must figure out a way to face his fears and fall asleep. He uses his imagination to transform these "scary" noises into brighter, happier images. Flapping books become fluttering butterflies, and rooftop rain becomes popping corn. In the end, these nighttime noises become the music of his dreams.
To purchase Little Ant Hears a Noise, please click here: Amazon.com.
The second book in my Little Ant children's series was also inspired by my sons. I wrote it as a way to ease their fear of nighttime noises. In my house, when the lights go off, the noises come out! The heat comes on. The cat meows. Someone flushes the toilet. And both boys are up and calling my name.
When I think back to when I was a kid, I was also afraid of the dark. I would hear a noise or see a shadow and that was all it took to get my imagination going. It was ironic—the creativity that brought joy and adventure to my days, now cursed my nights! I had to find a way to quiet my fears.
It wasn't long before I learned to change the picture (or story!) of the noise. I now hear the cat walking up creaky stairs instead of a ghost; and squirrels on the roof instead of rain. Since I couldn't change the noise itself, I had to change my interpretation of it. And this is what I hoped to convey through my story.
Now, when my children hear a noise at night, I say it's the neighbor outside or the cat downstairs. I give them something more fun and exciting to think about!
LITTLE ANT SAVES THE DAY - $10.00
"But the wind blew hard, and the tree came fast, and the little ant was about to...CRASH!"
When the little ant tries to help a friend tie his many shoelaces, he gets into a world of trouble. He gets chased by bees, glues some of his friends to shoes, and finally accepts the help of a sneaky spider. Through a surprising twist of fate (and a little bit of science!), the little ant finally discovers the key to his success.
To purchase Little Ant Saves the Day, please click here: Amazon.com.
As with all of my Little Ant books, this one was inspired by my own life experiences. When my oldest son was 5, he would be late for school every day because he couldn’t tie his shoes. I would teach him how to do it and he would still struggle and cry in frustration because he could never master the skill. He finally took matters into his own hands and just tied some knots into the laces. He would then slip them on and off every day in a much easier fashion.
This planted the seed.
Then last year, while we were on vacation, my 4-year-old son had trouble sealing the Velcro on his sneakers. They kept flopping open every few steps. This was unacceptable. He kept crying and acting as if he couldn’t walk with his shoes undone. I ran to the local dollar store (just what you want to do on vacation!) and picked up safety pins and extra shoelaces.
I proceeded to try and safety-pin the straps to the sneakers. If you’re ever in this situation, do not, I repeat, DO NOT try this! It was a total disaster! So instead of the shoes popping open every few steps, they popped open and poked my child’s foot! I finally decided to just loop the new laces through the straps and tie them up his leg. I essentially tied the shoes to his body. It was not pretty, but it worked!
This book pulls apart that one small problem and tries to solve it in many silly ways. It was really fun to write, and in the end, it actually surprised me. I wasn’t sure exactly how to end the book, and then one day, as I was driving to my mom’s house along Route 17, it just hit me. Like a bolt of lightning, it shocked me and made me laugh out loud. It was the perfect ending! So, this book took me on an adventure, as well. It is silly and suspenseful, and kept me guessing the entire way!
Little Ant Saves the Day was inspired by my children but explored through the eyes of one little ant. It was such a joy to write and even more fun to complete, and I hope you love it as much as I do!
The little ant explores many ridiculous ways to help a friend tie his shoelaces.
LITTLE ANT & THE ICE CREAM MYSTERY - $10.00
"Pools of chocolate can't be beat. Move it, bacon, that's my treat!"
This colorful picture book features the lovable little ant and his quest to solve the mystery of a missing ice cream cone. When his favorite treat suddenly disappears, the ant must follow some unusual leads to uncover the truth. Through many twists and turns, and an unflappable main character, we soon discover that no mystery is too big for the little ant!
To purchase Little Ant & the Ice Cream Mystery, please click here: Amazon.com.
Welcome to my fourth Little Ant book! It is a story inspired by the child in me. Sure, it’s centered around my sons’ favorite treat (ice cream!), but when choosing the actual story, I tried to write a book that I would've enjoyed as a kid. So, this story is a little bit different from the rest. It is not based on any specific event that happened in our lives, but on my old-time favorites. I tapped into the past, wrote from the heart, and created a really fun mystery for all to enjoy!
Before I could put pen to paper, I had to think back to my childhood. What did I like in a good book? What types of stories do I even remember reading? I went to Catholic school, which means we read A LOT. A few good books came to mind. One was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I remember being blown away by that book! The mystery and the suspense were amazing. And then in high school, we read Bleak House by Charles Dickens. That was also an incredible book. We read it in segments, much like the ‘episodes’ that were originally published in the 1800’s. We were not allowed to read past the assigned chapter, so it really built the suspense and kept us wanting more. That, too, was a fantastic mystery.
As you can see, many books influenced me as a child, but I would be remiss not to mention TV shows, as well. My all-time favorite was Scooby Doo. I must’ve watched every episode, ten times over! I absolutely loved trying to solve those mysteries. And of course, hanging out with ghosts and ghouls were a real treat, too!
This all led me to write my very first mystery. Coming up with the story was fun, but drawing the pictures was even funner! (I know that’s not a word, but it should be!) When it came to illustrating this book, I really abandoned my inhibitions. The pictures just flowed. The colors seemed brighter, the pigs seemed piggier. As I was designing it, I would say, “I think I need a grasshopper here.” Or “How about a flock of geese over there?” And then I would just draw it. I had a renewed confidence in myself. The best example of this ‘new illustrator in me’ would be the cover of the book. It was like the cherry on the...well, ice cream sundae! I really loved all the colors and creating that awesome, swirling effect. Of course, I tried to draw that swirl by hand, but I knew instantly that it wasn’t going to work. I will thank Photoshop for the assistance on that one! In a final, bold, and daring move, I colored the cover black. It not only captured the spirit of the mystery, but made the colors really pop off the page. It was a great move because I am now IN LOVE with that book cover!
In the end, Little Ant & the Ice Cream Mystery turned out to be a fun, silly, and exciting story—one that I would’ve loved to have read as a child. It is the perfect, sweet mystery for the little ant to solve!
This is me with my awesome grandparents!
LITTLE ANT & THE SHADOW BULLY - $10.00
"Some shadows are big, some shadows are small, but what if your shadow was no fun at all?"
This colorful picture book features the lovable little ant and his discovery that his own shadow is a bully. When the ant sees his shadow misbehaving, he does everything in his power to end the friendship. But nothing seems to work until he stops running and starts listening! In the end, they work together to make things better for everyone. This is a story of friendship, kindness, and understanding.
To purchase Little Ant & the Shadow Bully, please click here: Amazon.com.
I never thought that I would write a book about bullying. But here I am, giving this hot topic some attention!
So, not long ago, my son was coming home from school every day saying that his friend was being mean to him. And it was true—his friend was being a bully! He would tease him and push him around, and exclude him from different activities. But then he would be nice and fun and thoughtful. It was so confusing! As a mom, I wanted to advise him to "Just stay away from anyone who's mean to you," but that blanket statement wasn't going to work here. This child clearly had something positive to offer my kid, and was actually a good friend...most of the time!
So, I had to put my protective "momma bear feelings" aside and really think about the situation.
Would anybody really wake up in the morning and say, "I want to be a bully today?" (Okay, maybe somebody out there would!) But I think most children are just trying to figure it all out. Rules at school. Rules at home. Complex social situations. Emotional control. Conflict resolution. Hands to yourself. Sharing and caring. Be nice. Do your homework. Messages! Messages! Messages!
And I started to wonder—maybe some of these "bullies" were just kids who had trouble handling their emotions, or at least handling their everyday problems! And if they didn't have the right coping skills, wouldn't their frustration just spill out onto the world around them, i.e., my kid?
Too deep? Probably... But once I stepped back and looked at the situation objectively, I started to have a little compassion and understanding. I mean, we're all human, right?
So, that's where my book comes in. This is a story of friendship, understanding, and kindness. And even tolerance. The ant discovers that his shadow is a bully, and tries to first outrun him and then physically remove him from his space. These are all techniques that I would've tried as a kid—to get rid of my own bully. But sometimes, you can't outrun (or out-bully!) a bully. So, you hit the pause button and try to understand things, so you can make the best of a bad situation. Maybe you can even discover a reason behind their behavior. It doesn't excuse it, but it certainly would explain it!
As you can imagine, this was a complex book to write with so many underlying messages. My most important message is one of kindness. I hope this book inspires children to be kind to one another and to really do what they can to make this world a better place!
My son loves to do kind things. Guess what the shadow does in the book when he decides to be kind!