The Big Blue Thing on the Hill by Yuval Zommer
The Big Blue Thing on the Hill is by Yuval Zommer, who comes to the world of picture books after many years as a creative director at some of the world's top advertising agencies. His debut is wonderful, and the story reminds me of a bit of the picture books of the environmentally conscious, animal friendly Bill Peet. Zommer's illustrations are full of energy and a little bit kooky, especially the grins (or are they leers?) on the wolves snouts. His forest is inviting, but it's also clear that this territory belongs to the forest creatures.
The Big Blue Thing on the Hill begins, "Far away from the city, in the middle of the Great Forest, was a special place called HOWLING HILL. During the day, it was peaceful and quiet because all the animals were asleep."
At night, all the animals come out and head to Howling Hill where they make quite the chorus of growls and howls. That is, until the big, blue thing arrives with rumbles and roars.
Part of the fun of The Big Blue Thing on the Hill is the animals gathering together and trying to figure out what's going on and what to do about it. They flee from Howling Hill into the Great Forest to confer. Everyone thinks it's something different - a big, blue elephant, a big, blue dinosaur are guesses from the weasels and badgers. But it's the foxes who knowingly inform the other animals that it is, in fact, a BIG BLUE THING."
Once they know what it is, the animals are determined to make it leave. But no amount of howling from the wolves, growling from the bears, pushing and shoving from the wild boars or digging from the foxes seems to get even the slightest reaction out of the big, blue thing. It is the Wisest Old Owl who has the final solution - a BIG BUG FLYING SQUAD. As the sun rises and the bugs zoom in for the win (with a few snakes thrown in for good measure) the animals are thrilled to see their plan work. Soon, Howling Hill is peaceful and quiet once more until . . . the final page of The Big Blue Thing on the Hill. Zommer closes his fantastic book with a great joke that will have readers laughing and wanting to read The Big Blue Thing on the Hill again and again.
Source: Review Copy