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THE WOODS by Paul Hoppe


by Paul Hoppe & illustrated by Paul Hoppe

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8118-7547-9
Publisher: Chronicle

The night light is on and the bedtime story firmly in the young narrator's grasp, but stuffed bunny is nowhere to be found! There's only one thing to do: He has to go into the woods, which are conveniently right next to his bedroom.

With a toy sword and a wastebasket serving as a helmet, he marches (in his pajamas) boldly ahead, right into the path of "a big, scary brown bear!" Luckily, the bear is scared of the dark too, so the boy shares his night light. The duo sets off into the deeper woods, where they meet two scary giants. These guys in green are just bored, so the boy shares his bedtime story with them. Off this quartet ventures, and comes upon a pink three-headed, fire-breathing dragon... And so on. The procession comes to a big scary dark cave and, holding hands, summon the courage to enter. Inside is a big, hairy, scary monster—holding a tiny red bunny! Mystery solved; the boy invites everyone back to his room, where a final illustration shows him smiling and clutching stuffed versions of all his banished fears. The refrain—"we weren't afraid at all. Until…"—sets a comfortable pattern, and the fuzzy watercolors on thick creamy stock enhance the coziness of the tale.

Hoppe's delightfully quirky monsters enhance this pleasant tonic for bedtime fears. (Picture book. 3-6)