cover image Is There Room on the Feather Bed?

Is There Room on the Feather Bed?

Nadine Bernard Westcott, Libba Moore Gray, Libba Moore Gray. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30013-8

Bad weather makes for strange-and funny-bedfellows in this charming cumulative fable of friendship. During a torrential rainfall, a ""wee fat man and a wee fat woman"" invite a parade of farm animals into their ""teeny tiny house"" to share their big feather bed-but will be there be room on the bed for a drenched skunk, too? The goodhearted wee fat woman thinks so, but her close-minded bedmates (including her tubby husband) quickly vacate the premises-until they decide that it's better to share breakfast in bed with a skunk than face the downpour. Westcott's (Never Take a Pig to Lunch) cheerfully skewed cartoon illustrations capture the story's whimsy as well as its tempest-tossed drama. The pictures of the supine birds and animals luxuriating in bed, their wings stretched lazily across plump pillows or their hooves holding onto the coverlet, get funnier and funnier as the bed grows more populous. The late Gray (Dear Willie Rudd) cushions her tale with cozy language (the barnyard roster includes ""a green-headed goose, a yellow-billed duck, a woolly white sheep,"" etc.), and kids will especially enjoy the rhyming refrain of the wee woman as each soggy animal supplicant appears on her doorstep: ""Why bless your hearts,/ such a noise, such a fuss./ There's room on the feather bed/ for all of us."" Ages 2-6. (Mar.)