A pie cooling on a windowsill and passing miscreants of all stripes make for an inexorable combustion.
This short, cheerful tale of cooperation from Schories features engaging artwork and animal protagonists, and it operates on a very approachable level for beginning readers: “Big Chuck loves pie. // Big Chuck can see the pie. // Big Chuck can smell the pie.” (That covers six pages.) The letters are big and welcoming, and the norm is three to four words per sentence, with the occasional stretch to a James Joyce–an seven. It is not just Big Chuck (a very large woodchuck, as his name suggests) the pie has attracted, but an assortment of rural chums. Trouble is, none can reach the pie by itself. Even working in concert, standing on one another’s shoulders, “Can the mice get the pie? No, they cannot!” In a spontaneous act of interspecies cooperation, Big Chuck hoists the mice on his head, and the pie comes tumbling down. “Pie for everyone!”—though the pie makers may not agree. (It’s blueberry, by the way, and Schories has drawn its warm, blue gooiness just right; it’s irresistible, even lying in the dirt.) The words have pure drive to them, and the repetition calls forth an incantatory urge to speak the words out loud.
Fine for a read-alone but like dynamite for a read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)