cover image Armadillo


Mary Elise Monsell. Atheneum Books, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31676-0

This lighthearted, understated story focuses on a community of anthropomorphized animals as they respond to rainy days in Oklahoma. Generous and caring, Armadillo loves to retreat to the quiet solitude of his den when it rains. His neighbors--prairie dogs, mice and rabbits--fear that since they rarely see him in this inclement weather, he might be sad and lonely then. But they soon discover Armadillo's secret and learn how to share the simple pleasures of curling up in ``the right spot'' with a candle and a book until sleep beckons. Monsell portrays restrained yet deep feelings here with a comfortingly quiet, almost old-fashioned air, and her characters call to mind Lobel's beloved Frog and Toad. Young readers will be especially charmed by the soft, warm-toned watercolors that reassuringly evoke both rainswept plains and snug candlelit interiors. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)