cover image A House in the Woods

A House in the Woods

Inga Moore. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5277-7

As with her illustrations for The Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden, Moore’s artwork for this appealing book has a timeless quality. Her pictures—finely detailed, yet hazy and atmospheric—depict an inviting woodland setting and express the personalities of a group of animal friends who become an unlikely family. Two pigs don’t mind when Bear and Moose move into their cozy homes, though both are quickly destroyed due to the animals’ size. Now all four creatures are homeless, a predicament Moore describes with the droll understatement that runs through the narrative: “This was a pickle. It really was.” Suggesting they build a proper house for them all, Moose (using a phone attached to a tree) calls the Beaver Builders, who arrive in pickup trucks and wearing hardhats. Moore makes every word count, as the industrious Beavers, aided by the future residents, build an inviting cottage. One can almost get lost in the full-bleed pages and spreads, many of which are wordless, evoking the peacefulness of the forest and the warmth of the animals’ relationship. A charming tale that underscores the rewards of cooperation. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)