and the Smell of the Sun
by Janet Frame
August 1, 1993
Hardcover, 84 pages
9.5 x 7.3 x 0.6 inches
"Once upon a time, not long ago, almost now, there was a young House Ant called Mona Minim who was preparing to make her first journey out of the nest."
So begins this enchanting story of little Mona Minim in her yellow sunbonnet and floral apron and six black-buttoned shoes, who became lost while playing the Stair Game and was found by Barbara, the Garden Ant, who became her friend. That is how Mona Minim came to live for a while among the Garden Ants, and to play hide-and-seek in the Sunflower Forest, and how she got to know Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Pogo and Cousin Nigel who was going to marry the Princess one day. Uncle Pogo was quite a character. He couldn't see the point of working all the time like the rest of the Garden Ants. "A little steady work and plenty of steady rest"-that was his motto. He was all for a "honey break" to make things pleasant on the job. And so winter passed and spring came and everybody was filled with anticipation as Swarm Day drew near, when the young Princess would become Queen. "What is the smell of blue," Mona Minim wondered, thinking of the Queen's flight, "when you are flying in the sky, and of the smell of the sun and the wind that never blows close to the grass and the earth? What is the smell of the sun?" It was only after Swarm Day, when she had returned to her own House Ants and was able to review her adventurous life, that Mona Minim found the answer: "You must go out, little ants, and see and smell and taste and touch for yourselves, and then you will know."
Janet Frame is the author of eleven novels, among them the highly acclaimed A State of Siege, Faces in the Water, andThe Carpathians, as well as several collections of stories and sketches, and one volume of poetry. She has been honored with many awards, including the New Zealand Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize.