Little Mouse enlists the help of woodland neighbors when he gathers firewood to warm his nest.
It’s wintertime, and Little Mouse is determined to gather fuel to keep his family warm. He sets out wearing a very long red scarf that he uses to bundle an enormous pile of sticks and pine cones and such, but the pile is so huge that he can’t move it. He asks Rabbit and Fox—who has a sled—for help, and while it’s unclear how they manage to move the pile onto the sled, they do. But they still can’t move it. Finally, they ask Bear for help, and he obliges. There’s no sense of antagonism among the animals—the clear enemy is the developing snowstorm. Although the little peaceable kingdom is successful in finally moving the pile together, a stumble causes it to fall. The storm is severe at this point, and the four animals huddle together under the makeshift nest to wait it out. When they emerge, they divide up the sticks among themselves, and each brings home firewood to ensure a warm winter. Throughout, Oral’s textured illustrations in a muted palette outshine the written narrative, reveling in the contrasts of the figures against white snow. The blizzard scenes also effectively create a mood of peril with their darkening, hectic lines.
A warming read. (Picture book. 4-6)