Everybody’s Welcome is a wonderful story about empathising with the plight of others and helping them in their hour of need. This beautifully illustrated picture book has a main character, Mouse, who shows compassion, kindness and tolerance towards many different woodland animals and recognises that they can all add individual expertise and strengths to a project which will ultimately benefit them all.
The Story: Little Mouse dreams of building a big house in the forest. One by one various animals, who for one reason or another have lost their homes, appear and Mouse welcomes them to join her in building a house where ‘everybody in it will feel that they belong.’
‘Everybody’s Welcome’ in Mouse’s house and the animals strengths are celebrated and utilised so that they can work together to build a house for everybody. Mouse is joined by a large bear, a frog, rabbits and birds and as word spreads many more animals come to lend a hand and work together.
The bouncy rhyming text is easy to read and we love Greg Abbott’s illustrations. The earthy, muted tones are perfect for the story’s woodland setting and there is so much detail in the illustrations. Half pages and cutouts show the progress of the housebuilding on one side of the page while more and more animals arrive to lend a hand. The animals are enthusiastic and industrious and their teamwork is rewarded when the house is finished and a Home Sweet Home plaque is nailed onto the wall. My daughter loves the picture showing all the animals working together as they sand, hammer and screw nails into wood, many have brought their own tools, even a tiny beetle has contributed by bringing a nail! I have a soft spot for the unhappy frog who meets Mouse at the beginning of the story but has a very wide grin by the end.
Everyone’s Welcome would be a lovely story to use in a reception class for a Homes and Houses topic. It can stimulate discussion about children’s own homes, what their dream home would be like and also lead to discussion about different types of animal homes. It would also fit into a woodland topic, there are a range of different woodland animals and birds in the story, an owl, a hedgehog, a fox and a squirrel also join the main characters to build the house.
Age Range: 3 +
Author: Patricia Hegarty / Illustrator: Greg Abbott
Thank you to Little Tiger Press for sending us a copy of Everybody’s Welcome. It’s the perfect story to demonstrate empathy and the diversity of the characters shows children that by working together we can achieve so much more than when we work alone.