Last year I reviewed A True Home by Kallie George, charmingly illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, the first book in the Heartwood Hotel series featuring the forest adventures of a crew of creatures running a bustling hotel. As I said at the start of that review, having been enamored of The Wind in the Willows and the works of Beatrix Potter as a child, I still absolutely love a good forest story. And, having worked with kid's books for 25 years now, I can tell you that series like this are rare. The Heartwood Hotel books bring to life the the charming creativity of an anthropomorphized community of woodland creatures, balancing it with the unpredictable dangers of life in the natural world.
In the first book in what will be a four book series, one book for each season, Mona is a mouse who has lost her family and her home. Wandering through Fernwood Forest, she discovers a new one when she stumbles upon the secret entrance to the Heartwood Hotel. Run by Mr. Heartwood, a kindhearted, widowed badger who speaks in rhyme, and a dedicated of staff, they work to create and maintain a safe place for smaller critters to eat, hibernate and celebrate the changing seasons. However, the predatory animals in the forest and the reputation of the hotel itself always seem to be in jeopardy.
In Better Together, Mr. Heartwood is taking a well deserved vacation and his dedicated staff is ready to keep things running smoothly. But, news of a new hotel coming to Fernwood Forest has the staff worried about competition. What can they do to prove that the Heartwood Hotel is the best there is? Throw a party, of course. Not just a party, but a Spring Splash, featuring competitions like the Cutest Egg (nesting baskets provided), the Tiniest Talent and the Best Blossom. But, Mona finds herself in a difficult situation that makes her increasingly grumpy and just a little jealous when head house keeper Tilly's long lost little brother Henry becomes the center of attention. When an owl attack threatens the celebrations, Mona finds away to unite standoffish factions and save the day, but not without putting herself in a dangerous spot. Better Together ends on a happy note, with Mona healing and, as she searches through old guest books, making a discovery about her own long lost family...
Be sure to visit the adorable, amazing website filled with activities and adventures for readers (you can even book a stay at the Heartwood!) at Heartwood Hotel.
Books 1 & 2
Coming July, 2018!
Source: Review Copy