Deep in the Woods

In Deep in the Woods, British illustrator Christopher Corr, whose distinctive style has graced A Year Full of Stories and other picture books, brings his luminous artwork to a retelling of a familiar Russian folk tale. "Deep in the woods was a little wooden house. It was painted bright white, with nine neat windows and a red front door." Sadly, this "perfect little home" stands empty, until a mouse passes by one day and decides it's the right place for him to set up housekeeping. Next, a frog hops by and gets the same idea. The mouse welcomes him warmly. And then a rabbit shows up, followed by a beaver, a fox, a rooster and so on. All--predator and prey alike--settle in, adding their homey touches and singing the night away. But when a bear comes along and asks if there's room for him, the music and dancing screech to a halt. "No," the animals answer unhappily, "There isn't room for a big bear in this little wooden house!" Unswayed, the bear tries every means of access: the windows, the door and, finally, the roof. "The little wooden house begins to tremble... Crrrreeaaak!" And "Crrumph!" goes the house. Disaster! Are the animals destined to become homeless again? Not while the strong and caring bear is around!

Thick, rich paper absorbs Corr's brilliant neon colors, and the textured cover adds to the overall sensual experience of this radiant picture book. The classic folk tale's theme of inclusiveness and resourcefulness is as fresh today as it has been for generations of children. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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