Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The City Under the Back Steps” as Want to Read:
The City Under the Back Steps
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The City Under the Back Steps

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  76 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Craig began to experience a shrinking feeling, as though he might be withering away or else that everything around him was growing rapidly.

It made him quite dizzy, so dizzy that he closed his eyes, and when he opened them again, he couldn’t recognize where he was.

Although Craig didn’t realize it yet, he and his cousin, Jill, had been reduced to minute size and taken priso
Hardcover, First Edition, 210 pages
Published 1960 by Doubleday & Company
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The City Under the Back Steps, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The City Under the Back Steps

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrensbooks
my favorite childhood book. so sad it is out of print.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I originally read this book more than 20 years ago, and the story has been stuck in my head all those years. It's now out of print, but I found a copy on eBay (paid a small fortune), and I'm very happy that I'll be able to share it with my nephew soon. Still a great kids' tale, if a bit dated.
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I recently purchased the audio version (available from ChinaBerry) and listened to it with my 9 and 7 year old children. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. While some areas were dated, it did not take away from the imagination and enjoyment of the adventure. Weeks after completing the story, we are still referencing different parts of the book and (trying) to imitate the voices that the narrator brought to life. The voice of "Cricket" in particular was a favorite. What a great way to turn the family ...more
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-fiction
This book made a lasting impression on my kids - a fun story that builds empathy for the ants and other creatures.
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was so great! I still remember a number of things from it, even though it's probably been at least twenty years since I read it. They really ought to reprint it.
Baby Isabel
Sep 23, 2011 marked it as to-read
Donna: Another for when she's older, maybe third grade. An exciting story of kids who are shrunk to ant size and learn empathy for the small creatures around us.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
This book was read aloud to my fourth-grade class as we worked on quiet art projects at our desks. I loved hearing the exciting story about a brother and sister who get shrunk to ant-size and taken into the colony under the steps. I read it aloud to my own children. Imagine my excitement to see it available now in audio-book form!

The story is a wonderful combination of adventure, science fiction, and instruction for information-hungry children. We are all insatiably curious and sponges for know
Janet Johnson
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I don't remember exactly when I read this book - it was over 50 years ago. But it has stayed with me and was one of the books that caused me to fall in love with reading. I was telling my soon-to-be 10 year old granddaughter about it and decided to buy it for her. I would love for her to realize that reading is not just something you have to do in school, but that it can open whole new worlds for you. I was so disappointed to learn it's now out of print. What a shame.
Kathie Price
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book that I have searched for (in vain) for YEARS! There should be someone out there willing to go thru the proper hoops to republish this classic. I sure would like to read it to my grandchildren.
Apr 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
Way too dated. Dealt with some gender roles, which is nice in theory, but "girls don't have to be nurses!" isn't really much of an earth-shattering statement anymore. Also, essentially plotless. Made it through three chapters before we all died of boredom.
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Read this book when I was in fifth or sixth grade and it made a lasting impression. Too bad it's out of print, although it's sometimes better to live with the childhood memory than have it erased by adult experience.
Katharine Ott
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
"The City Under the Back Steps" - written by Evelyn Sibley Lampman and published in 1960 by Doubleday & Company. As a good introduction to the life of ants, it's a great book, but as a story, it was a little slow.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this in third grade, and it was the most memorable single book I read growing up. I'm sorry it's out of print, and library copies are growing scarce, but it's worth the search, perhaps through the Interlibrary Loan System. Fascinating read.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a child and remember loving it then. I decided to read it again, now that I'm 61, and enjoyed it just as much all over again!
Pat Murphy
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the books that got me interested in science, way back when. I read it when I was a kid, and I still remember the ant colony quite vividly. So sorry to hear it's out of print.
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
very fun book about kids becoming ants--I loved this as a kid.
May 12, 2008 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, chapter-book
DD received for Christmas
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love ants. Loved them as a kid, liked this book.
Jul 28, 2013 added it
Teaches you not to step on ants!
rated it it was amazing
Sep 14, 2007
rated it really liked it
Nov 12, 2017
Xiamara Hohman
rated it it was amazing
Mar 18, 2014
Beverly Hayes
rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2015
Colette Nicholl
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2010
rated it really liked it
Aug 28, 2014
Austin Morrissey
rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2010
rated it it was amazing
Aug 11, 2007
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
(1907-1980) Mrs. Lampman grew up in Dallas, Oregon, granddaughter of pioneers in that region. She graduated from Oregon State and worked for many years in radio. Her first book was published in 1948, and she was most recognized for sensitive books about racial minorities, especially Native Americans.
More about Evelyn Sibley Lampman...