Synopsis: When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.
This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout..
My Review: This is a delightful story for late primary readers who are ready for more difficult chapter books. It’s the story of Mona, a mouse, and an animal hotel in the woods. Mona accidentally finds the hotel when her house is flooded and she ends up getting washed down a river. She stumbles upon a large tree and when she rubs her hand over the heart carved in the trunk, the hidden door opens. Heartwood Hotel, hidden in a tree, provides refuge for lost woodland creatures, safety as well as participation in several conventions and festivals, all within its cozy branches. Being homeless, she is offered a warm place to stay in exchange for work. Children will be amused by the delightful world within this Hotel, as well as the many life lessons that Mona learns and teaches others along the way. The various animals at the hotel are all varied and have different talents and interests. The owner, a badger named Mr. Heartwood, is kind and generous to a fault. The guests all have different needs that must be taken care of. It is a wonderful cast of characters. There is some adventure, problem solving as well as a little danger. This would make a nice read aloud in a primary class where there is a chapter read each day with some good discussions to follow. I really like the ideas about friendship, class structure as well as facing your fears and helping your friends. There is also lessons about loss, self-confidence and to some degree bullying. It is not in your face, but the ideas are all there. A good addition to a school or class library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.