Written in rhythmic rhyme, this warm tale is being marketed unnecessarily at the politically aware parent. The links to a political unease or a refugee crisis are not going to appeal to children, but this lovely book, with its sense of community and busy, productive animals, will.
A well-produced book, the colour is rich and the die-cut on the cover is enticing. The illustrations by Greg Abbott echo a retro 1950s look. Abbott’s style might remind one of Gustaf Tenggren’s books, The Saggy Baggy Elephant or The Tawny Scrawny Lion. Those books, from the late 1940s (near the close of WW2), were also about acceptance and inclusion.
As the plot of the book progresses, a number of animals find that their forest homes have been threatened or lost for a variety of reasons, and a dreamy mouse organises them all to work together, be welcoming to one another, and build a communal home for them all to share.
Die-cutting is used inside as well and seems only a gratuitous design feature at first, until a later sequence where the pages build up to reveal a cheerful crowd of creatures. The action is gentle but includes all manner of animals from tiny bugs to a huge bear. Younger children (0 – 4) will enjoy this book’s welcoming refrain and uplifting sentiment.