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THE QUIET FOREST by Charlotte Offsay


by Charlotte Offsay ; illustrated by Abi Cushman

Pub Date: March 12th, 2024
ISBN: 9781665926423
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

A mischievous mouse sets off a chain reaction in a quiet forest.

The mouse—who looks a bit like the clever star of Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo (1999), illustrated by Axel Scheffler, lands in a rabbit’s pancakes (“Splat!”), then makes off with the plate. The rattled rabbit disturbs a beaver in its dam, and, amid the splashing, the mouse takes some of the beaver’s chewed wood and paper blueprints and builds a little boat. Meanwhile, the beaver’s splashing soaks a nearby deer, who runs into a moose. Animals careen one into the next, and the forest gets noisier and noisier, leading to a moment of tension when the moose’s grunting awakens a bear slumbering in her den with her cubs—but any fear is quickly allayed when one of the cubs gives Mama a much-needed hug. Animals work together to cheer each other up and make necessary repairs, and there are pancakes for all. The use of onomatopoeia, alliteration, and repetition makes for a lovely read-aloud experience, and the many humorous details in the art (such as the bear’s bunny slippers) make rereading a treat. From not-so-quiet to this-is-more-like-it, one gets the sense that the togetherness was the mouse’s plan all along.

At once fresh and familiar, silly and soothing.

(Picture book. 3-7)