A House in the Woods

Cover

Written and Illustrated by Inga Moore

Candlewick Press, 2011

A Little Pig had made a den for herself in the woods. Next door, another Little Pig had made himself a hut.

The plot in a nutshell: Some friends move into a house together.

The pigs go for a walk and when they return, the find Bear in one pig’s den and Moose in the other pig’s hut. They don’t really mind, since Bear and Moose are their friends, but unfortunately, the two large animals accidentally ruin their new homes. Moose comes up with the idea to build a big house that they can all live in, so they call the Beavers, who are happy to take care of all the construction in exchange for peanut butter sandwiches. While the Beavers are working, Bear, Moose and the pigs go shopping for things they’ll need for their new house (and bread and peanut butter, of course). They make the sandwiches, deliver them to the Beavers and return to their lovely new house.

Home by the fire

Has anyone in the history of time ever been as comfortable as that pig looks all settled into that squashy chair by the fire?

What a wonderful surprise this book was! From the cover and description, it seemed like something geared entirely for very young readers, but there’s so much more to it than meets the eye initially. Author/illustrator Inga Moore creates real characters who are full of personality and humor and sets them in a story that is cooperative and rewarding. You think there is going to be conflict when the two pigs’ homes are destroyed, but instead it turns into an opportunity for these four friends to create the home of their dreams.

Ms. Moore has illustrated lots of classic books, such as The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables, and I imagine she really enjoys coming up with her own stories to tell. There’s something both hilarious and adorable about these characters and the way their story is told and some of that can be found in the illustrations, which are done in pencil, pastel and wash. I particularly love the way that Moose is drawn, with his very human body language.  I can’t help but think of a dream we have with some of our friends, about building a big compound where we can all live together. This book shows good friends living together and it looks cozy and wonderful.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that there’s something seriously awesome about setting up a new home with family or friends.

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