More Life in the Wild from Canadian Oldland (Up the Creek, 2013, etc.).
A bear, a moose and a beaver are friends, and they love adventure. One day, they decide to climb a nearby mountain. They trek across the countryside and, while having a snack at the base of the mountain, decide to make the trip up the slope a race. The moose’s long legs give him an advantage; he pulls ahead of his friends. Then a boulder comes down the cliffside path. In escaping the boulder, the moose falls over the edge and is left hanging from a tree limb. The bear tries to rescue his buddy, but he falls too. The beaver’s quick thinking saves everyone. The three friends take the rest of the trip at a slower pace; and that is when they actually begin to enjoy their journey. Oldland’s digitally painted, woodcut-style illustrations are as deadpan-charming as ever, and storytime audiences won’t find this as predictable as those who present it to them will. The friends’ competitiveness plays out believably enough, and the characters’ short exclamations in the illustrations will elicit a giggle or two (and participation in subsequent readings).
Another fine lesson couched in a tale that never becomes didactic. (Picture book. 3-9)