cover image The Best Place

The Best Place

Susan Meddaugh. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-97994-5

Change is never easy, but an old wolf gains a new perspective--literally--in this clever picture book about attitude. The old wolf is more than content to view life from the screen porch on his house: ""This screen porch is magical... my screen porch is the best place in the whole world!"" But when a well-traveled bird suggests that the wolf just doesn't know any better (""You've never been anyplace else,"" he points out), the wolf begins to have doubts. He packs his bags, sells his house and sets out to see the world. After visiting the buggy jungle, a hot desert and a rainy city, the wolf returns home, convinced that no place can compare to the screen porch. Unfortunately, the porch's new tenants refuse to cede to the wolf and he throws a tantrum that strikes terror into his neighbors. The wolf's efforts to make amends are misperceived, and he slinks away, mortified--only to create a place even better than the screen porch, at least when it is filled with his old neighbors. Meddaugh's (Martha Speaks) chipper yet multi-layered text explores the nature of misunderstandings and reconciliation. Her airy, lighthearted watercolors evoke a pleasant animal idyll. And from wolf to bird to rabbit, the creatures' expressive faces and body language extend the story mightily. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)