Down in the valley life is happy and peaceful – bears, foxes and birds roam the beautiful countryside. The different species live harmoniously alongside each other.
Then one day a big dog appears. The dog has a terrible hunger and eats everything in his sight. To try and calm him, a fox steps forward and plays a tune on his fiddle, but the dog just gobbles him up. The fox continues to play his tune from within the dog’s tummy and it’s heard by some brave bunnies who try to rescue him – but they also find themselves in the belly of the beast.
The dog refuses to listen to reason and continues to feed his hunger by consuming everything in his path – but deep in his tummy a community of animals is coming together. They light a fire and sit down to talk of the future. Together, they work together to rebuild their world on the inside.
There’s something incredibly special about Oliver Jeffers. All of his books seem to work on two levels. Children love them because the stories are simple and the illustrations are beautiful – but there is something deep in each story which really resonates with adults too. When I pick up one of his books and read it for the first time, I know that it’s probably going to make me feel a bit weepy and this one affected me more than any of the others.
The story is about a little girl who loves life. She loves to explore, she loves to learn and she sees wonder everywhere she turns. Pictured beside her (but not mentioned in the text) is her grandfather. Then one day she discovers an empty chair in her house, and the grandfather is no longer there.