Tidy

Emily Gravett. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8019-2
Pete the badger works ceaselessly as the forest’s cleaner-upper—early on, Gravett (Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts) paints him grooming a fox and giving an owl a sponge bath—so autumn, with all those untidy leaves, fills him with anxiety. He swings into action, and readers see him atop a mountain of leaf-filled trash bags. Now, the leafless trees bother Pete; he digs them up, and when that leaves a muddy mess, he paves it all over—“perfectly tidy and perfectly neat”—with disastrous consequences. There’s no suggestion of malice behind Pete’s actions; Gravett’s bouncy rhymes emphasize instead his single-minded devotion to his goal (“Pete called in the diggers,/ he called in the mixers,/ he called in the concrete,/ the rakers, the fixers”). In the background, the delicate leaves and gnarled trunks of Gravett’s forest testify to the beauty of nature just as it is. A die-cut cover whose openings reveal Pete among the trees underscores the sense of deep, luxuriant growth. Some may miss the dark humor of Gravett’s earlier books, but her message about environmental damage is delivered with the lightest of touches. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/02/2017
Release date: 03/21/2017
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 40 pages - 978-84-16648-33-7
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