The day dawns sweet, but a big hairy bear gets up on the wrong side of the bed and straight into Grumpsville.
In newcomer Jones’ story of mood contagion, Mouse is inspired by the glorious morning to make cupcakes, one of which he will bring to Bear, his sweet-toothed friend. But Bear isn’t home when Mouse arrives to deliver the cupcake, so Mouse leaves it on Bear’s table. Bear, readers learn, is out and about bellyaching. His boots are too big and too uncomfortable, which causes him to stomp, collapsing Mole’s tunnel, which causes Mole to fling his shovel in disgust, which causes Hedgehog to trip and roll over the shovel and down the hill, where he inadvertently sticks a spine into Fox’s bum, which causes Fox to hurl his groceries in the air, which land on the squirrel family, whose ruckus wakens Owl’s owlets. “Bicker! Squabble!” Understandably, the weather turns foul, forcing Bear home, where he finds the cupcake, cracks a smile, and offers an apology, which cascades through the forest as the others follow suit. It’s a nicely concrete demonstration of what goes around, comes around. Less effective is the saccharine artwork, which telegraphs every beat. And Jones’ language feels likewise forced, alternately trying too hard—“Mouse tappity-tap-tapped on Bear’s door”—and simplistic—“Now everyone was in a BIG BAD mood.”
The message may never grow old, but the artwork and language will. (Picture book. 3-7)