Diverse woodland creatures come together to celebrate and eat in debut author Kaplan’s picture book with illustrations by Kumar (Tuck-In Tuesday, 2018, etc.).
A squirrel with a bullhorn invites every animal in the forest to sit down at a table that’s laden with fruits and vegetables. In rhyming text, Kaplan plays with naming conventions in several languages: “Mrs. Cat, Mr. Dog / Señor Bird, Monsieur Frog.” A wolf and a lamb sit next to a blue, polka-dot rabbit; other animals include bears, insects, a porcupine with an oddly ducklike snout, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and a calf that looks like a miniature adult, complete with horns. An image of the entire table shows the group getting along and behaving courteously. Amid the silly rhyming combinations, which will entertain young readers, Kaplan’s message is clear: If these different creatures can get along, shouldn’t humans with less significant differences be able to get along, too? The author’s rhyming text flows smoothly and offers an assortment of creatures that children will enjoy. Kumar’s cartoonish illustrations (including some for kids to color at the end) feature some identical plates of food, giving the feast a copied-and-pasted feel, and the animals look more like dolls than actual forest creatures.
A fun rhyming tale with a solid message undermined by mediocre illustrations.