A scene of pastoral calm and beauty spins out into chaos.
The story is told entirely in pictures, 12 busy two-page spreads. Many things are happening on a wide stretch of bright green grass, with the edge of a forest in the background. A mother squirrel and her young son walk down a grassless path, two rats sunbathe side by side, a mother rabbit lays out a picnic for a variety of small animals. (All the animal characters wear clothing and walk on two feet.) In the background are four small houses. The third shows a mishap, with a dog in a striped shirt outside working hard at making a cake. His efforts are continually disrupted, first by an errant soccer ball and then by another dog, clad in dress and apron, chasing a fly. As the pages turn, the activity continues and accelerates. The pigs who live in the second house do some painting on a ladder; three monkeys perch on the roof of the first house; a fox and rabbit dig a deep hole near the path. Activity turns to bedlam, with a raccoon tracking paint into the fourth house and the ladder toppling over and almost everyone rushing into the woods. What exactly is happening? Much is left for the reader's imagination to fill in.
This offbeat pictorial adventure won't be to all tastes, but it should prompt storytelling fun for both adults and children. (Picture book. 4-7)