"There are a lot of dangers out there..."

This remarkable children's story comes across as a blend of classic tales like Charlotte's Web and Are You My Mother but focused on modern thematic concerns. Misha and Phoebe are a tarantula and a bunny who are looking for Misha's mother. Their tale is partially about habitat without ever using the word. Misha finds herself in Wyoming, freezing and miserable thanks to modern man and the accidental transport of species. Phillips explains, "Her mama was from the rain forest and was trapped in a crate of bananas and shipped to Wyoming." Phillips also slips in subtle lessons about tolerance, trust, friendship, and differences. For example, the rabbit and spider come across a half-eaten lizard that Phoebe, the bunny, can't imagine anyone eating. "That's lunch?" Phoebe exclaims. Misha replies, "Yes, Like that carrot is yours."

Misha and Phoebe are delightful. Their eyes sparkle in the illustrations. The pictures are colorful and adorable, including one of Misha peaking out of a haystack and one of her dreaming of her lost mother. This book is a perfect challenge for younger elementary students but with plenty of pictures as a reward after each page of words. When read aloud, teachers and students or parents and their children will likely have fun with the story, using it as a starting point to talk about animals, zoos, friendship, species, kindness, assumptions, and predator/prey relationships. Begging an eagle to give the tarantula and rabbit a ride to find Misha's mother instead of feeding them to eaglets, Phoebe says, "Have a heart. She has traveled a long way, and you can find other food." This short book is heartwarming. From Wyoming to Arizona, the characters travel afar, and readers can hitch a ride by reading about their adventures.

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