There are special names for animal and human homes, but we all call Earth our home.
In her first solo effort, Mundorff (who illustrated Beth Ferry’s A Small Blue Whale, 2017) offers a clever but not entirely successful way to think about how context can change meaning. Beavers live in lodges, otters in couches, and lions in dens; pigs call pigsties home, and a red panda makes its home in a tree. A simple statement about each animal’s home is illustrated across the gutter by a picture of the animal in situ; this is followed by a bright, busy, full-bleed double-page spread showing these animals clothed and living as humans would—enjoying a ski lodge, watching TV on a couch, sitting by the fire in a den, messing up a shared bedroom, or reading in a treehouse. But then the message gets muddled: “One could say dolphins live in pods, herds, or even teams.” These are collective nouns, not names of dwelling places; worse, the noun chosen for whimsical treatment is “team,” as they are depicted playing underwater baseball. Dolphin groups are called pods in both customary and scientific nomenclature. The idea of dwelling places returns with lofts for pigeons and neighborhoods and towns for prairie dogs. The prairie dog town morphs into “a town on Earth, a place / all creatures call home / and live with love,” but by now, readers and listeners may have turned away.
Engaging images paired to a less-than-successful text. (additional facts) (Informational picture book. 3-6)