Why the animals came to town by Michael Foreman

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Walker, 2010. ISBN 9781406318012.
(Ages 5+) Recommended. Once again Michael Foreman comes up with a thought provoking picture book with a theme for all ages. One night a boy is woken up by the strangest sound: the tramp of animals' marching feet coming down his street. There are polar bears and reindeer from the north; grizzly bears and moose and caribou from the west; penguins and kangaroos from the south and pandas from the east; animals from all over the world. As the animals dance and prance they sing a song warning that the earth is in danger and that it is time that something was done.
The illustrations are fascinating. The pictures of the animals stand out against a deep blue background colour for the night. Children will be captivated by the unique expressions on each of the animals and their babies and the myriad of dancing, prancing animals.
Beautiful language using rhyme and alliteration make this a wonderful book to read aloud. Even though there is a strong message of looking after the earth to keep the animals safe, the rhythm and pictures are so compelling that the story didn't feel didactic to me. However, by the time the story is over, I believe children will feel that they should be doing something for the environment and will spread the word as Foreman suggests.
Pat Pledger