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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A House in the Woods, written and illustrated by Inga Moore. Candlewick, Random House. 2011. $19.00 ages 3 and up

"But when the first Little Pig brought her feather home to her den, she discovered that Bear had moved in - which she didnt' mind, because she liked Bear. But Bear was so big that - oh, dear! - the den was wrecked."

Ooooh! I love these illustrations that are so suited to this charming story of great friendship. When the two Little Pigs go for their morning constitutional they have no idea that life as they know it will have changed by the time they return home. We get to watch their discovery!

Returning with a newly found feather for one, and an interesting stick for the other, they find that Bear has moved into one's den and Moose into the other. Even the smallest child will recognize the incongruity of a Bear trying to live in a Pig's wee den...not much different with the Moose. Of course, both dens are now uninhabitable. Poor Pigs!

Nothing to be done but to find a new home. All are amenable to do just that, and it doesn't take long to decide what and where. Moose wants them to consider constructing a building that will house all of them together. Having no skills for design or engineering, they look for the most obvious forest animals to aid in the construction....the Beavers. A quick phone call and a promise to pay their fee in peanut butter sandwiches makes it a done deal!

And so, the work begins with everyone pitching in to create a 'home' for the four:

"Bear made the staircases and chimney stacks, while Moose fitted the windows and doors. Then they both went with the two Little Pigs to the junkyard for furniture and curtains and all the other things that go inside a house."

Building complete, bill turned over, there is only one thing left to do...a trip to the store for bread and peanut butter. Delivery of said payment results in contentment for the builders, and great delight for the new inhabitants. It is a lovely house with all the amenities needed for a lifetime of shared happiness.

No drama here; just a lovely, quiet story of friendship and community. Each illustrated page is filled with the small details that make it just right for a young audience. The earthy tones and soft edges chosen for the art work perfectly with the gentle tone of the tale and will leave listeners satisfied and soothed by the benefits of working as one to create something very special:

"Soon the only sounds to be heard were the soft cheeps of sleepy birds roosting in the rafters, the tiny rustling of wood mice in the fallen leaves outside, and, just now and then, the gentle snoring of Bear."

 Snuggle up with this lovely book on a cool winter night, and enjoy a wonderful family time!

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