Anthropomorphic animals engage in a variety of activities throughout a bustling community.
There is a lot going on in Happy County. Eighteen mostly two-page chapters feature residents who are busy working, volunteering, exercising, and relaxing, among other pursuits. Some residents appear on the front endpapers, others are introduced later. In some cases, sequential panels follow a single character, as when Handywoman Hannah carries out a task at the Hyena household in a brief text replete with words that start with H. Other chapters offer a wide view of a specific setting, such as a scene-setting two-page spread and the county fair that serves as the grand finale. Long labels the objects and individuals in many of his characteristic bright, cartoon-style illustrations, enabling young listeners to practice, and probably expand, their vocabularies. He also includes questions and suggestions that encourage interaction. There are opportunities to match words and pictures, identify shapes, colors, and patterns, and practice the alphabet. Humorous storylines, clever wordplay, and occasional rhymes will charm listeners. Multiple appearances of some characters and the booklong chase of an adventurous chick in a visual subplot create continuity, and plentiful visual jokes add to the enjoyment. Gender equity is implied by the inclusion of female-presenting characters in nontraditional jobs, and the species mix amicably.
Brimful of fun and sure to inspire many repeat readings. (Picture book. 4-8)