Cartoonish animals, repetitive phrases and fast-paced suspense make for a story that toddlers and their slightly older siblings can enjoy together.
Five different woodland animals are interrupted from such activities as “enjoying a nibble” and “storing food” by the same loud noise: “Da-Dump! Da-Dump! Da-Dump! The ground shook and shuddered, trees trembled, rocks rattled….It was a terrible noise!” Each animal dashes away from home, and on each successive page, readers see the growing procession of runaways, until all five—Hare, Beaver, Skunk, Raccoon and Fox—are backed against a wall of rocks. The huge, noise-making beast—Buffalo—arrives on the scene, and a delicious, surprising ending comes with a lesson that young children are just starting to learn: “It was scary at first!” the animals shout. “But fun afterwards!” The artwork clearly supports the text, with wide-eyed, active animals comically portrayed against simple, colorful backgrounds. Such touches as Skunk’s penchant for “frolicking in a flower field to freshen herself up” keep the tone light. Even when the five friends are backed into a corner, with the shadow of the “HUGE, shaggy creature” upon them, the humor throughout both text and illustrations keeps young readers reassured that all will be well.
Read it aloud a few times, and younger voices will soon join in. (foldout splash scene [not seen]) (Picture book. 2-5)