Vivacious illustrations carry this unlikely tale of a captured mouse’s ploy that inspires three predatory animals to wage peace.
When Cat nabs Mouse by the tail, the quick-thinking rodent immediately tells him it’s Friendly Day: “a day for sharing, a day for caring, / when everyone is nice, // when Frog reads Snail a fairy tale / and cats do NOT eat mice.” So eloquent is the mouse that the dazzled feline marches off to persuade Dog and a less credulous but tenderhearted Bear to join paws and set out to make the holiday a real one. Expanding the central cast into a burgeoning gallery of wild creatures from all over, Fuge illustrates Kelly’s bouncy rhymes with a series of harmonious gatherings. These range from the aforementioned frog and snail to a tiger lounging familiarly against a (knitting) rhino, a fox serenading dancing geese, baboons handing out balloons and a cow pouring medicine for a bedridden crocodile. All are expressively posed and rendered in sharp detail (with occasional anthropomorphic tweaks) and with fond smiles.
“It is a lovely thought,” opines Bear, “to think that we could ever be, / as kindly as we ought.” Impossible to disagree. (Picture book. 6-8)