Pfister (Hopper's Treetop Adventure, p. 226, etc.) begins this book with his trademark fly-in-the-ointment approach: A happy bunch of cherubic cliff mice inhabit an idyllic island, where all is wonderful until winter forces the mice into dank, dark caves. One mouse, Milo, discovers a magical glowing stone (thereby allowing Pfister's other trademark--dazzling reflective elements--to take the stage) that provides heat. The other mice, understandably, would like stones for their caves. Balthazar, something of a sage, cautions that the stones belong to the island and something must be given in return for their use. The book's pages thus split in two: ""The Happy Ending"" appears on top, ""The Sad Ending"" below. The top story is predictable--each mouse fashions a decorative stone in gratitude. The bottom story takes a more compelling route, becoming a full-blown cautionary tale of the consequences of greed, envy, and environmental pillaging. In this duel of positive/negative examples, the negative clearly has more vigor and impact, and brings Pfister's message--about making wise ecological choices--home.