cover image Mooki's Secret

Mooki's Secret

Gary Smalley, Kari Smalley Gibson. Gold' N' Honey Books, $12.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-57673-266-3

An orphaned beaver discovers his heritage and gains self-esteem in this woodland picture book. When his family and home are washed away in a flood, young Mooki must move to a home for wayward critters run by the kindly badger Mrs. Twizzer. Though Mooki's housemates include a peacock, a rabbit and a skunk, he feels self-conscious about his appearance--especially his enormous teeth. It doesn't help matters when the other animals make fun of him. But then Mooki meets a young female beaver who makes him feel more comfortable in his fur and appreciative of his ""chompers."" Gibson's well-paced text has an easy-going tone that kids will find reassuring. The positive message about accepting oneself and being tolerant of others has universal appeal regardless of faith. Bernal's deep, earthy palette is appropriate for the forest setting, and his wide-eyed animal characters inject humor and warmth into the tale. Smalley provides an afterword for parents in which he explains the various issues of faith raised in the text and suggests related Bible passages for families to explore. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)