Forest animals join forces to build a house where they can live together in harmony in this rhyming story with a retro vibe.
A cheerful mouse kicks off the building project with welcoming, outstretched arms on the title page. The mouse consoles a homeless frog, and they begin gathering sticks to build their new home. They are joined by other animals who need shelter, including rabbits, a bear, a fox, and birds. The animals use tools and boards to build their group home, which is never shown fully in the illustrations, and their construction efforts are rather confusing, as what they are actually building is hard to discern. The singsong rhyming text is earnest and peppy, proclaiming that in this new home, “life will be so sweet.” Soft-focus illustrations with a muted palette feature appealing animals with large eyes and expressive faces, and there are some amusing scenes as the group works together. The creative design includes pages of varying widths and die-cut windows on the cover and concluding spread. One illustration with a rainy setting has the text block set against dark, gray clouds, rendering the words almost unreadable.
Jolly animals and an intriguing page design are welcome attributes, but the lackluster text and absence of a clear conclusion to the building project make this a less than sturdy effort overall. (Picture book. 3-6)