A House in the Woods

Our BLG reader this week was Dan. He brought in A House in the Woods by Inga Moore to share with us! I was delighted as this book was on my “must have” list and now we have a copy for our library! Thank you BLG!

This is such a soothing, beautiful book to fall into. The lush woods. Industrious animals. A calm lake. A warm fire. A simple kitchen where you prepare and enjoy meals together. So lovely. The illustrations force you to read extra slowly to savour all the details. This is a book that should not be rushed. After reading this book to the class, Dan observed (talking about Inga Moore) “I think she wrote the book just so she could draw these pictures.” Indeed!

The story is one that initially surprises. It starts with two little pigs, one who had made a den and the other a hut. Clever readers expect to turn the page and discover a third little pig, another type of house and a wicked wolf lurking behind a tree. But, the next few pages instead reveal that a bear and a moose, both friendly instead of frightening, have attempted to move in and share the pigs’ homes. Unfortunately the sheer size of these creatures does irreparable damage to the den and the hut. The animals share a bench and some thinking time. This was a pickle. It really was.

Moose then has a brilliant idea! Why not build a large house for all of them to live in together? Yes! But they would need help with such an ambitious project. So, they enlist the assistance of the Beaver Builders! They fell timbers, erect walls, put on the roof, help the animals shop for furniture and curtains, etc. And all they want in return? Peanut butter sandwiches. The house gets finished and the animals rush to the store to shop for the needed bread and peanut butter.

After delivering the stacks of sandwiches to the beaver lodge on the lake, the friends settle into their first night in their new home. They enjoy a meal, tidy up, tell some stories around the fire and then climb the stairs to bed. A deep sleep in their new beds surrounded by a quiet night and occasional snores from Bear.

My students adored this book and pored over the pictures. Quite a few funny comments were made as Dan read aloud.

“Pigs don’t live in the woods!”

“Yes, some do.”

“Hey this could be the three little pigs in the woods!”

Much talk also about eating.

“I ate a moose.”

“Sorry but that’s kind of gross to me.”

“How come those beavers are eating the trees? They are going to get sandwiches!”

We were also a little suspicious that animals would actually build a house, shop in a store and sleep in beds.

“There are no grocery stores in the woods! And definitely not ones that are managed by donkeys!”

“Well, it is make believe,” Dan gently reminded.

Our student reviewer reports:

Khai: I liked the book because the illustrations were so nice. The book was funny too. One of the funny parts was the moose – it even made a sandwich!

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