If All the Animals Came Inside just might become a favorite book of children, parents, teachers, and librarians alike! Marc Brown, of the beloved Arthur series we all know and love, is the illustrator of this fun, creative, and rhythmic collaboration with author Eric Pinder.
As is often the case in a picture book, the title page is actually where this uproarious story begins. We see animals peeking around a tree at a house. A boy lives there with his baby brother, toddler sister, mother, and father. There is even a pet dog and cat. You might say that this house is already full! Pinder’s rhyming text begins with the blue-eyed boy predicting what would happen if all of the animals came inside. The only person excited about this adventure is the boy, whose family members all react with alarm as each group of animals invade the house to explore and make themselves at home. The boy rides the elephant, which crashes about, plays hide and seek with monkeys and bears, and eats snacks with pandas, skunks, and yaks. The animals wreak havoc wherever they go in the house, making Mommy, Daddy, and Sister angry and annoyed. Eventually, even the boy gets tired of the mess and disruption, because the animals end up taking all of his toys, coloring on the walls, taking up all of the space on the sofa (where they happily watch an episode of “Arthur” on TV), and even taking over his bed. In the end he realizes that the dog and cat provide more than enough animal entertainment for him and his family.
This book’s text has a wonderful cadence to it, and begs to be read aloud. The actions and chaos of the animals is conveyed with rhyming text and great phrases like “Lunch munch. Burp crunch” and “Wibble scribble. Wipe swipe.” Pinder and Brown give us a great parade of animals, too: elephants, bears, monkeys, hippos, giraffes, kangaroos, cows, lions, pandas, yaks, skunks, lemurs, porcupines, gibbons, hyenas, ostriches, octopuses, zebras, squirrels, chipmunks, bats, rhinos, owls, and wolves. Brown’s illustrations are a whimsical collage of striated cut papers, paper enhanced with Brown’s sketching to create hair, animal fur, and household furnishings, and actual photos of objects (like cans of peas, rubber ducks, shoes, and luggage). One can see, in the eyes of some of his animals, clever echoes of his earlier Arthur characters. Children will learn descriptive language and vocabulary.
It would be wonderful to see more from this author/illustrator team. If All the Animals Came Inside is a winning combination of story and art that is sure to entertain and stimulate the minds of young children. Teachers and librarians looking for books to use for story time, art projects, and language arts studies will be delighted, too!
Review submitted by Laura