As summer turns to fall, adorable forest animals count their blessings in Paul and Walker’s newest addition to the If Animals… series.
Rabbit and Squirrel are each thankful for things that keep them warm—Rabbit for his thick fur and Squirrel for her puffy tail. Crow’s thankful for the “great bowl of sky,” and “Raccoon would chir-chirrrrr / thanks for her cub / and nuz-nuzzle him / and rub rubbi-rub.” Frog’s grateful for her “bug-catching tongue and her lily-pad boat”; Beaver, for his oarlike tail. A bit oddly, Coyote howls “thanks for the / bright, sunny day.” Bear makes appearances throughout the pages, collecting clover, then honey, a basket of blueberries, and a fish. Turtle and Skunk round out the thankful friends who all gather round Bear’s laden table. After their feast, they lounge in the grass together, their contented looks saying everything. Paul’s rhyming verses here emphasize some of the sounds forest animals make, the typeset changing color and alignment to suit, and no doubt young listeners and their enthusiastic adults will enjoy voicing them. Walker’s cuddly creatures are like stuffed animals come to life, all gentle smiles and dot eyes. The softly colored palette and rounded edges in the illustrations further add to the sweet mood.
A nature-themed lead-in to Thanksgiving and, for the science-minded, a beginning lesson in adaptations.(Picture book. 2-6)