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Summary: Look up into the trees in Hopalong Hollow and you're likely to see one of the Bushybottoms, a squirrel family. Bushky and his sisters live in the tallest tree in the hollow and they love to swing on the branches. Now the tallest tree isn't the safest place, and one blustery day the wind carried Bushky away. Unsure of himself or how to get home, Bushky asks for help from some of the other creatures that live in the other parts of the hollow. When Bushky mistakes Sir Percival the fox for a rooster, his journey home becomes more dangerous. Is there anyone who can help him? This is the second title in the Hopalong Hollow series. It includes lift-the-flap pages and a CD.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself 10 and up
Interest Level: 6 yo 9
Reading Level: 5.1
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: The illustrations carry this book. They are quite detailed, and exploring the images is as more fun than the story. The book opens with a foldout of the Bushybottom home that adds dimension to the "tallest tree in Hopalong Hollow." The mousetrap door on the mouse house and a turtle floating on his back blowing bubbles are just adorable. There are plenty of little images hidden within the illustrations, too. The story is quaint, but covers a lot of the same ground as other timeless fables. The encounter with Sir Percival is reminiscent of "The Fox and the Hen" and the event of the windy day itself will remind you of "The Blustery Day," a classic Winnie the Pooh story.
Pros: Gorgeous illustrations filled with detail and lots of action will engage children while you read the story, which resembles classic fables.
Cons: While the illustrations will keep children engaged while you read the words, they may be overwhelming to children who are easily overstimulated visually. I searched the book for a list of the hidden pictures. This would make a nice addition to the story and encourage further exploration.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a coffee-table quality book. The story is solid, if unremarkable, and the illustrations will keep you captivated for hours.
Educational Themes: This is a story told in a classic fable style. Each of the animals plays a role and has a specific personality. The illustrations have lots of activity unrelated to the plot, and they invite exploration. Encourage kids to create their own stories about what they see. Hints for the hidden pictures are on the CD, allowing kids to explore independently.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 7.1
2008 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards Gold medal (Best Illustrator category); Winner of Childrens book with Audio CD from USA Book News "National Book Awards"
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, animal characters, family