The Power of Social Reading: A Booklights Reissue
Quick, Slow, Mango!: Anik McGrory

Little Fur Family: Margaret Wise Brown

Book: Little Fur Family
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Pages: 32
Age Range: 2-8

FurFamily The Little Fur Family (Deluxe Edition) was a gift to Baby Bookworm from a dear friend, with whom I've shared many books over the years. It's pretty much irresistible from the exterior alone. Little Fur Family comes in a cardboard box, because the book itself is covered with soft brown fur, and has nowhere to put a title. A cut-out in the box allows young readers to stroke the little fur child's fur stomach (as shown).

But soft fur coat aside, I love this book for the cadence. I've only read it to Baby Bookworm a few times, but I already have parts of it memorized. It begins:

"There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm wooden tree."

Then follows a day in the life of the little fur child, who goes out exploring in the wild wild wood where they live. Nothing much happens. He stops to talk with his grandfather. He watches the fish in the river. He heads home when it starts to get dark. His parents sing him to sleep. But it's a very comforting story.

Margaret Wise Brown has a gift for writing passages that you just want to read out loud. My favorite part is:

"That sneeze woke up his grandpa
who lived in a hollow stump.
And grandpa came walking thump thump thump
and walked out of his hollow stump and said, "Bless you,"
my little fur grandson,
Everytime you sneeze ...."

What I like is that there's some rhyme, but it's not necessarily limited to the ends of each line. And the lines aren't all the same length. But the rhythm works anyway. Genius, I say.

And now whenever Baby Bookworm sneezes, I find myself saying "Bless you, my little fur child."

Little Fur Family is illustrated by Garth Williams (creator of the definitive illustrations for the Little House books). It's quite text-heavy, with relatively small illustrations and quite a few pages that are all text. The illustrations are definitely secondary, but do add to the tone of the story. Williams uses a color palette consistent with the woods - lots of browns and greens and yellows. The little fur child is an intrepid figure, and his house is perfectly cozy (and may perhaps remind older readers of a certain little house in another, bigger, wood).

Little Fur Family is a classic title, destined to be a family favorite in our household for many years. Highly recommended.

Publisher: HarperFestival
Publication Date: 1946 (this edition 2003)
Source of Book: A gift for Baby Bookworm from Aunt Liz

© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).