The Big Blue Thing on the Hill

illus. by Yuval Zommer. 32p. Candlewick/Templar. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763674038. LC 2013955955.
PreS-Gr 1—Colorful, digitally created illustrations reveal the Great Forest and all its inhabitants living peacefully side by side. Life is good, and the bears, wolves, badgers, boars, and other creatures have their routine: sleep during the day and venture out at night. All's well until a Volkswagen bus, "a big blue thing," so-named by the foxes, roars into their territory and settles itself on top of the hill. The animals, perturbed by the intruder, team up to rid their hill of the disturber of their peace. Howling, growling, and pushing don't work, so a meeting is called. The "Wisest Old Owl," deciding upon a plan of action, calls forth the smallest creatures for their assistance. The text changes in shape and size, giving movement and emphasis to the tale. Watching the forest denizens band together against an interloper is an enjoyable example of teamwork, with the tiniest critters saving the day. The pictures display variety in the animals' faces and demeanor and resemble gouache paintings. Children will enjoy contemplating the animals' next plan of action and appreciate the surprise ending.—Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI
When a "terrifying" blue creature (a van) appears one night, the large forest animals can't chase it away with howling, growling, or pushing. Instead, it's the stinging insects "and a snake or two" that finally succeed. The story logic falters somewhat (wouldn't the racket have awakened the humans?), but it's amusing to consider campers (visible only as shadows) from the animals' perspective.

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