Monday, April 2, 2018

Heartwood Hotel : A True Home by Kallie George illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

I am so lucky that a friend with an amazing school library is happy to loan me her books. Last week she handed me A True Home - the first book in a four book series called Heartwood Hotel. Now I know why she was smiling!  This is SOME book. I loved it from page one to page 162 and I read it all in one sitting.

winning tale. Kirkus

Mona the Mouse is lost in the forest. It is cold and raining. She stumbles upon the Heartwood Hotel -

We live by "Protect and Respect",
Not by "Tooth and Claw".

The hotel owner Mr Heartwood (a badger) takes pity on this small, wet, frightened mouse and agrees she can stay and work as a maid but only for a limited time. Mona is set to work with Tilly (a squirrel). Mona tries to be friendly with Tilly but in return all she receives is criticism and her bad tempered responses. Everyone is busy at the special hotel as they prepare for the First Snow Festival but the Mona learns there is huge danger lurking close by. It looks as though the festival will need to be cancelled.

Here are some story quotes to give you a flavour of this storytelling:

"With a squeak of wonder, Mona stepping inside to warmth, light, and the delicious smell of roasted acorns.  The room was large - very large for a mouse ... Across from the door was a small hearth, unlit but decorated with a garland of colorful leaves.  A mossy rug lay in front of it ... and from the ceiling hung rings of candles, casting a soft golden glow."

"Inside was another marvelous sight, and a much more lively one! Rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, hedgehogs, birds! Even a lizard. and largest of all, a badger."

"Against one wall was a table stacked with food: mushrooms, juniper berries, licorice rots, and acorns - oh the acorns! Mashed, steamed, fried, souped ... And in the center of the table, a giant honeycomb with cups beside it to scoop out honey to drink."

"Different guests prefer different sorts of bedding. Rabbits like dried grass or oak shavings. Squirrels like crumbled leaves and twigs. Birds like nests of moss, and moles dirt and some leaves."

Right from the beginning Mona shows good sense, courage and we know coming to this hotel is not a coincidence. She has a tiny acorn case with a engraving of a heart and this same symbol is on the door of the Heartwood Hotel.

I mentioned there are four books in this series and this is to match each season.  Book One - A True Home is set during Winter.

After you read A true home click here to see the series web site.  It is a real treat. You can book in to the hotel and complete a quiz to select the perfect room. So much fun! The publisher even sent his kit to their book reviewers. Inside was grass and bedding and two tiny pillows.

If you need more plot details read this review in Quill and Quire. Here is a conversation between Kallie George and Stephanie Graegin. Three books from this series are available on iTunes. I also found a site with ideas for going beyond the book and making the little hotel with props. I would follow the Heartwood Hotel series with the Poppy books by Avi, Tumtum and Nutmeg and the Bambly Hedge books.  I am also keen to read another series by Kallie George - see picture at the end of this post.

Mona the mouse is a character who starts off feeling scared, lonely and a little insecure, and ends up finding she's brave, courageous, a good friend, and strong in knowing who she is.  Mundie Kids

1 comment:

kinderbooks said...

Sorry haven't got the other series.