Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ONE DARK NIGHT by Lisa Wheeler


by Lisa Wheeler & illustrated by Ivan Bates

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-15-202318-6
Publisher: Harcourt

The circumstances are fraught with trepidation as a few citizens of the forest, at opposite ends of the food chain, meet one another in the dark of the night. Readers meet Mole and Mouse, two chums who share a snug abode, and Bear, who fully fills his BIG GIANT den with BEASTLY growls and jowls, not to mention an outsized hunger. For inexplicable reasons, Mouse and Mole venture into the night: “The two teensy friends / Left their wee tiny house. / ‘I’m scared of the dark,’ / Mole whispered to Mouse.” But stalwart Mouse urges them on: “Through sharp thistle thorns, / Into marsh misty woods.” Meanwhile, Bear is gnashing about his abode, working up a voluminous hunger. “I want something to eat / And I want it now,” he growls, a full-frontal head-shot filling the page, blowing readers back. He charges out into the night and it looks as though Mouse and Mole will soon be victims of the wrong place at the wrong time. They hear some commotion: “Mole shivered. Mouse shook. / Their fur stood up straight. / The SOMETHING was Bear, / Who grumbled . . . ‘You’re late!’ ” Hand in hand, they skip back to Bear’s lair for a feast. A very encouraging story in praise of unlikely friendships, told with poetic economy and a nod to the fact that such liaisons are ruefully rare. Bates’s (Do Like a Duck Does, 2002, etc.) watercolors, with their touches of waxy tactility, move with surety and character between tension and sweet resolution. (Picture book. 3-7)