Shelter
By Celine Claire
Illustrated By Qin Leng
Published by Kids Can Press Limited
Age Range: 3+

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“…beautiful tale that reads like a fable to teach giving and kindness, with artwork that warms up as its characters do.”  —Kirkus Reviews

Description
As a big storm approaches, two strangers arrive in the forest. All the animal families, safe in their homes, are worried. They wonder, ‘What are they doing there? What do they want?’ So, as the pair knocks at the door of one home after another asking for shelter, all the animals turn them away, leaving them to fend for themselves. But then an accident suddenly forces the fox family out into the snow and the wind, and the foxes find they must ask these outsiders for help. Will they find it in their hearts to give it?

Céline Claire’s heartwarming picture book story delivers a timeless and timely message about the importance of kindness and generosity. With simple and evocative language, it explores how even small gestures can make a big difference to the strangers or outsiders in a community. Artist Qin Leng uses a warm, soft palette in her ink and watercolor illustrations creating a charming and inviting visual narrative that is perfect for young children. This book provides a wonderful opportunity for discussions about being welcoming and helping others in need, including how children can put this into practice by reaching out to the ‘new kid’ or the one who seems different. It also works well for character education lessons on kindness, caring and empathy.

Reviews & Accolades
“Woodland animals ready themselves for an approaching winter storm, but a little fox is concerned: “What if others are still outside?” he asks. He is right to worry. Soon two bear brothers come into sight with a bag of tea leaves and an entreaty to share food, shelter, warmth. They are turned away by animals who clearly have enough of whatever is requested, until the little fox rushes out to give them a lantern. Grateful and hopeful, the bears move on. The tables are turned when the fox family’s shelter collapses and they are forced into the cold to seek shelter. The bears do not hesitate to share their cozy snow berm and the light of the lantern. (In a bit of literary license, the bears have got hot water and mugs for tea.) Claire writes in spare prose elegantly translated from French and Leng’s loose pen-and-ink drawings capture the mood of the story while offering lovely little woodland details. The messages of compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness are interwoven, if a little muddled. Young readers will have an opportunity to see all the sides of the experience—the stranger in search of shelter, the animals protecting themselves against danger, the compassionate little fox, and the closed circle of the ending.  An excellent conversation starter about the vagaries of life and our responsibilities to one another. Recommended as a strong purchase.”
School Library Journal

“In the woods, families of animals awaken and are eating breakfast when the birds bring news of a winter storm approaching, which spurs them into action gathering food and supplies.After a full day of gathering, the animals are all safe in their homes. The winds pick up as two strangers walk into the clearing, a tall one and a small one: two bears in need of shelter. The families inside watch as they come near, wondering who they are and what they want. They knock on each door, offering tea in exchange for warmth, food, light, but each family says they don’t have enough to spare and turns them away. They plan to hunker down near a hill when they hear Little Fox behind them. He brings them a lantern, and they’re grateful for the kindness as the snow falls, soon covering the woods. Little Fox’s kindness is returned when danger comes to the fox den, and his family is spared a terrible fate thanks to the strangers in need. Claire’s prose is rhythmic and gentle, with enjoyable repetition and memorable lines that lend themselves to being read aloud. Leng’s earth-toned watercolors and light strokes of pen and ink have a wonderful messiness about them, and her clothed, anthropomorphic animals are drawn more gesturally than the rounded cartoony look found in many picture books. Claire and Leng have created a beautiful tale that reads like a fable to teach giving and kindness, with artwork that warms up as its characters do.”
Kirkus Reviews  (Starred Review)

Groups Represented
Animals

Themes
Community
Cross-Group Friendship
Fleeing Persecution
Migrant Life
Refugee Life
Survival

Setting
The Woods

Engagement Projects & Resources
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