A variety of woodland creatures live in a house they find in the woods until a bear brings disaster; but together they build anew in this retelling of a classic Russian folk tale.
“Deep in the woods was a little wooden house…with nine neat windows and a red front door.” First a mouse moves in, then a frog, and soon the charming structure is full of critters—some predator, some prey, but all welcome and of modest size. Happily they sing and dance, celebrating their perfect home. But when a bear arrives, the cozy shelter cannot hold, much as in the familiar folk tale “The Mitten.” Here, however, the ursid is a problem-solver, and together with the other animals, he erects a new home, able to fit all. The artist’s illustrations are infused with an Indian aesthetic, and while objects painted with vibrant colors or repetitious patterns do not necessarily reflect the colors of the natural world, Corr creates a natural order that is energetic and extremely appealing. Similarly, the creatures’ humanlike eyes connote an intelligence or reverence for the animal kingdom not necessarily portrayed in Western cultures. Their anthropomorphic activities are enchanting, as they cry, talk, play music, and finally celebrate together—an inclusive message ripe for discussion. Readers will delight in the striking illustrations and captivating characters, while text repetition makes for a wonderful read-aloud.
Corr’s artwork is a feast for the eyes. Dazzling. (Picture book. 3-7)