Something on the Hill

Random/Anne Schwartz. Mar. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593301074.
PreS-Gr 3–For anyone who believes Ruth Krauss’s classic The Happy Day has been updated, they’re not entirely wrong. Field Mouse hears it and Gray Squirrel smells it. There is “Something on the Hill” that needs investigating. Moving through a snowy landscape of fields and woods, they are joined by Doe, Turtle (who ferries Field Mouse across a stream), the Mallard Duck family, and Mother Bear and her cubs. Field Mouse is the only one brave enough to wake Mother Bear. By the time the sun is up, the parade is climbing the hill, and the book has to be turned sideways to climb with them. What the animals discover is “Something blinking in the sun, like a bear waking after sleep…Something as gentle and just as important as a mouse.” Spring has arrived in the form of a bright green leafy shoot! The rural settings are rendered with the softness of pastels, lots of texture, and beautiful earth tones while always keeping the focus on the charmingly drawn animals. Text flows with equal charm as the critters interact; the scenes work perfectly with the illustrations to build suspense for the big reveal.
VERDICT There is more than enough room on the shelf for both The Happy Day and the very lovely Something on the Hill; they are also a perfect story-hour pairing.

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