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review 2008-07-29 00:00
The Island of the Skog - Steven Kellogg I first encountered Stephen Kellogg's illustrations in Is Your Mama a Llama - one of our very favorite bed time stories. I've since explored a lot of his other work and have come to the conclusion that he's at his strongest when his stories feature an all-animal cast of characters. I just don't like the way he depicts most human characters. There are a few exceptions - most notably his version of Jack and the Beanstalk which I find very appealing.

This is a story about a band of city mice who have grown tired of constant harassment from cats and dogs. They decide to relocate from the city to a remote island. After an arduous seafaring journey aboard a ship from a bottle they finally reach land - only to discover that the island is already inhabited by a mysterious creature called a skog. Since the mice already have a history with antagonistic animals they decide to go on the offensive with out asking any questions.

This is a great story about misunderstandings, the folly of making assumptions, and the power of communication and diplomacy. These deeper themes might be missed by very young readers, but the adorable detailed illustrations and story will still keep them interested. I think the best recommendation comes from Izzy who wanted to read it again immediately after we finished it. And a year later she still requests it from the library.
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