Why does Dormouse keep showing up—asleep—in other animals’ homes, and how will the dilemma be solved?
“The days in Green Forest were tranquil and uneventful, sometimes even verging on boring.” From the start, the text’s syntax and vocabulary, together with its charming artwork, invite a cozy read-aloud. Each day of this exceptional week, Dormouse inadvertently frightens a different friend by unexpectedly showing up somewhere in their home. Droll illustrations in a cool palette with russet highlights show diminutive Dormouse in locations such as the bathrobe-garbed Rabbit’s indoor carrot patch, Deer’s right antler, and Tortoise’s glasses case. After these and four other animals forbid Dormouse from continuing the practice—without allowing him to explain himself—they learn from Owl, who “would stay awake at night keeping watch over the forest,” that Dormouse, afraid of sleeping alone, has fled to the home turf of “ferocious” Wolf for company. Realistically, an owl is a greater threat to a dormouse than a wolf, but Wolf as villain adds to the fairy-tale flavor of the narrative. Rabbit’s use of “Guys!” detracts from it, as do erratically placed words in boldface. After rescuing Dormouse, the friends figure out a system that seems to work fine. Finally, Dormouse himself arrives at a new solution—which readers may find anticlimactic or possibly off-putting. Judging by pronouns and clothing, all characters are male except for Owl and Pygmy Shrew.
Engaging illustrations embellish a somewhat odd tale. (Picture book. 3-5)