The Animals Come Out

Groundwood. Sept. 2023. 24p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781773066752.
PreS-Gr 1–“Did you ever wonder/ what we would see/ if you and me/ oh, all of us/ just hid away for days and days?” Griek’s opening question leads to eight simple poems describing particular animals readers might see entering the streets and yards outside their houses. Timid deer are followed by mallard ducks, rabbits, coyotes, mountain goats, porcupines, foxes, and an assortment of birds. Bisaillon’s soft multimedia sketches begin in a room with toys scattered on the floor and a small, diverse group of young children playing or looking towards a window. Occurring outdoors, each remaining spread includes a pleasant scattering of visiting animals, an inset poem, and a small glimpse of a child somewhere watching from behind a window or doorway. The uncluttered neighborhoods of low houses seem to suggest a small, even tropical town, though the ground is once snow-covered. The premise that these animals are mostly unseen in neighborhoods won’t quite ring true for many children; mountain goats and porcupines are not commonly seen, but even city dwellers have occasional fox visits, and vegetable-eating rabbits and coyotes are unwelcome visitors in many places. Still, the closing reminder about observing the animals is valuable as today’s communities spread ever further into previously undeveloped environments: “the animals come out/ to explore our place./ And then we see/ how we and they/ all share this earth,/ all share this space.” The book has no closing teaching activities.
VERDICT Simple, inviting town visits by “wild” animals offer pleasant read-aloud and conversation possibilities.

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