Yet another picture-book paean to the pleasure of reading.
Hedgehog, Rabbit, Fox, and Mouse are friends who live together and love stories. Every night they read the same worn-out storybook. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a new book? Off they set, armed against hunger with peanut-butter–and-jelly sandwiches. They soon find one under a bush, but written inside is “This book belongs to: Bear” and a strongly worded warning: “KEEP YOUR PAWS OFF!” Of course, they must return it. When they reach Bear’s house, he’s not at home, but an open window is an implicit invitation to all the animals to slip inside, where they find books everywhere! What follows next will be obvious to adults, but kids will enjoy the fairy-tale echo as Bear bellows, “WHO’S BEEN READING MY BOOKS?!” The interlopers step forward, and soon all the animals realize their mutual love of books makes for a cozy club and a happy ending: “books are wonderful to read alone, but even better when shared.” Even leaving aside the obvious parallel to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” the simple storyline is not particularly original, very similar to Annie Silvestro and Tatjana Mai-Wyss’ Bunny’s Book Club (2017), among many others. Still, there’s just enough suspense and details for young listeners, and the heavy paper and charming illustrations make it suitable for storytimes.
A sweet if inessential affirmation of the pleasures of reading. (Picture book. 4-8)