Two for the Price of One

Sometimes I get two stories to read in one volume, which is the case with this entry. I liked the premise of the stories and I loved that the illustrations were black and white pen drawings, in the manner of Wind in the Willows. One of my all-time favorite stories.

Heartwood Hotel: A True Home

Kallie George

Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

This volume is two stories in one. “A True Home,” introduces Mona, a young orphaned mouse, who is washed out of her house by the Autumn rains. She gets washed away from and eventually winds up at the Heartwood Hotel, run by Mr. Heartwood, the badger, who takes pity on her and allows her to stay if she agrees to help clean up after the party that’s going on. An overnight stay becomes a seasonal stay because of her good work ethic. This, of course, makes her instant enemies with Tilly, the orphaned red squirrel, who is sure Mona is going to take Tilly’s job. The squirrel does everything she can to make trouble for Mona, in hopes she’ll be fired. Time and again, Tilly tells the mouse that she’s going to be fired any day now and Mona believes her. But Mona soothes guests’ ruffled feathers or fur and becomes a valued addition to the staff. She encourages Cybele, the sparrow, to sing. She makes sure the skunks, who arrive early, are kept calm, so as not to spray. She even tries to soothe Tilly’s nerves. So sure she’s going to be fired, Mona runs away. But she overhears wolves plotting to raid Heartwood Hotel and eat all the guests. By the end of the book, Mona proves her worth, makes friends with Tilly, and discovers that her parents were an integral part in making the Heartwood Hotel the hotel it has become. A true home, indeed. The illustrations in these books will remind the reader of Wind in the Willows. After reading this one, flip the book over and read the second story.

BIBLIO: 2017, Disney/Hyperion/Disney Book Group, Ages 7 to 10, $14.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Chapter Book

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4638-7

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4736-0

Heartwood Hotel: The Greatest Gift

Kallie George

Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

“The Greatest Gift,” tells of Mona’s adjustment to working with other creatures, and making the guests happy. A blizzard smothers the hotel during St. Slumber, the winter celebration party, and soon, the hotel is short of supplies, plus someone is plundering the stored supplies. In the meantime, Mona discovers that the hotel staff give each other a gift. Pleased as she is with her gifts, she is heartbroken that she hasn’t a single gift to give in return. She takes all the ribbon and twine from the gifts and secretly makes a heart-shaped rug for the foyer. In the end, she discovers the rat who is stealing the supplies, but only because he’s feeding more orphaned forest creatures, including Tilly’s brother, and she discovers the shipment of more supplies, broken down in the forest. She takes her rug apart to use as a safety rope when she and the rat go to rescue the lost supply sled. She learns she has given the best gift of all, love and friendship. The illustrations in these books will remind the reader of “Wind in the Willows.”

BIBLIO: 2017, Disney/Hyperion/Disney Book Group, Ages 7 to 10, $14.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Chapter Book

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3234-2

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4639-4

ISBN: 978-1-4847-4737-7

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