A moose, a bear, and a beaver enjoy having adventures together. One day they decide to hike up a mountain, but their competitive natures inspire them to make it a race. A boulder and a misstep mess up their plans, and it’s up to Beaver to ingeniously save the day, and his friends. “At the end of the day, the bear, the moose and the beaver agreed that reaching the top of the mountain was great, but enjoying the journey together was even better.” What an enjoyable story! The lesson is delivered only at the end, done gently and with humour, and the illustrations are hilarious. Author and illustrator Oldland draws inspiration from his day job as a pajama designer to create flat digital images, simple but effective using earth tones that complement the outdoor setting in the story. Some of the pages are quite complex – in one spread, the friends are racing each other down a bank, across a river, over a log and up a tree, giving readers and parents lots to linger over and explore. A little red bird appears on many of the pages, offering older readers a bit of sly humour. Youngsters will ask for this one over and over. The illustrations are a bit small for larger storytime audiences, but I can definitely see potential in adapting this as a flannel board story with the K-3 set. The story is the latest entry in Oldland’s Life in the Wild series featuring the three friends. I will definitely be looking for Up the Creek: how could I resist this image of the triumphant trio?!! A lovely addition to Kids Can Press’ picture book offerings, featuring three iconic Canadian animals.
More discussion and reviews of this picture book: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23527433.