From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1. Four animal friends, distressed that Owl seems to shrink as he flies away, each set off in turn to warn him. But those remaining behind notice that their companions also get smaller as they move further away. Only Mouse is left, and though he fears disappearing like the rest, he bravely sets out to alert his friends to their danger. When he joins them in the woods on the far side of the fields, he realizes with relief that he and the others are their normal sizes. But now their forest home in the distance seems to have all but disappeared. Will they ever be able to return home? From its title, done in progressively shrinking letters, to its reassuring conclusion, this humorous story of spatial relationships is just perfect for young audiences. The repetitive text invites participation, and children who realize how silly the animals' fears are will feel justly proud of their own superior knowledge. The double-page spreads, executed in gouache paints, are large and uncluttered, and the woodland scenes are inhabited by winsome animals stylized with patterned fur, signature Hutchins. Pair this offering with Sally Noll's Watch Where You Go (Greenwillow, 1990) for a story hour about things that are not always what they seem.?Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 3^-5. Spatial perspective may not seem like a natural topic for a picture book, but it surely is in the hands of Hutchins. Fox, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Mouse are worried as they watch their friend Owl fly off into the distant wood. The wood is tiny, and as Owl flies, he seems to be shrinking. The group sets out to get him back before he shrinks entirely, but Mouse wonders as he chases after the others whether he is getting smaller, too. When he thinks he is just about to disappear, he reaches the now big wood and finds out he is not small but just the right size. However, when it's time to return to their own (now small) wood, the animals are worried that it has shrunk. Preschoolers will enjoy both figuring out what it is going on in the pithy story and feeling smarter than the animal friends (some of whom do come to understand what is happening). The text is perfectly illustrated by Hutchins' crisp artwork featuring elemental shapings just right for young eyes. At school or at home, this makes for a good read. Ilene Cooper
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