cover image King of the Woods

King of the Woods

David Day. Four Winds, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-726361-9

A big, juicy, golden apple attracts a succession of woods dwellers, who appear here in pecking order. After a tiny wren discovers the fruit, various creatures lay claim to it, each announcing, ``I am the king of the woods.'' Unsurprisingly, each is foiled by a bigger, gruffer contender. Day's repetitive, gamesome text invites youngest mites to join in the telling. Its predictability effectively lures readers into a rhythm of expectation. However, the refrains carry a distinctly British lilt that may be cumbersome for American readers (``The Crow may be able to bully little bush birds, but the Eagle was not having any bragging bird claiming to be lord of his forest''). Brown's watercolor beasts and birds gain in jocularity and puffed-up foolishness as the book progresses. Its brains-over-brawn, agility-counts, get-even ending will satisfy small readers. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)