by Thornton Burgess
But! This was another amusing, quick little read that tells about charming animal characters while teaching some morality lessons and also about nature. The how-and-why stories tell about why the skunk has white stripes on his black coat, and why frogs don't have tails. The other stories usually have a moral, which is subtly presented, or teach about how animals live in nature. Reddy Fox tries to play a trick on Johnny Woodchuck but gets surprised himself how bold a woodchuck can be. The fox and owl plan to pounce on and eat a family of bobwhites, but the merry little breeze warns them in time to move their hiding place. The fox tries to go fishing like he's seen Billy Mink do, but all he gets is a thorough soaking. Jimmy Skunk goes looking for beetles and inadvertently keeps destroying other animals' homes; when Peter Rabbit sees what he's doing and prompts him to unwittingly pull a snake's tail, the plan backfires on Peter. Jerry Muskrat invites a bunch of animals to a party, but forgets that lots of them don't like swimming; however he manages to find a way for everyone to have a good time. Sammy Jay steals someone's cache of nuts and the other animals come together to figure out who was the culprit. Spotty the turtle enters a race and patiently finds a way to win even though he's slow.
I haven't mentioned them all here, but each story is delightful and I could imagine how they would be wonderful picture books for children. Lessons about being fair, not teasing your friends or playing tricks on people, having patience, showing compassion, and being honest are well-embedded in these tales that are sure to charm.
rating: 3/5 ........ 96 pages, 1910 ........ find it at Powell's Books or on Amazon