Reading level: Ages 3 and up Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (March 22, 2005) ISBN: 068987166X
Kindergarten-Grade 4–Willans borrows the old campfire chestnut of an endless chain story, adding his own punch line that will tickle the funny bones of many a reader. The book opens with, "Once there was a muskrat sitting quietly in a tree." Along comes a tiger who wants to eat him, but the smaller creature's quick thinking fends off the large orange beast. Muskrat says, "Wait! I want to tell you a story." His repetitive yarn tells of a series of other animals in the same predicament. A frog about to be eaten by a shark tells the tale of a lizard about to be eaten by a snake, etc. Eventually a predator gets wise. " 'I don't want to hear it!' said the spider. And the spider ate the fly." Tiger then steps in to pounce on muskrat. " 'Wait!' shouted the muskrat. 'There's more….'" In the silly denouement, the tiger gets his just deserts. The simple text and energetic, loose-line drawings with watercolor washes proffer a fun read-aloud that's bound to tempt some listeners to share the joke with someone else–perhaps in long succession.
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