Mona the mouse and the rest of the animal staff at Heartwood Hotel are back for one final heartwarming story in Heartwood Hotel: Home Again. This illustrated chapter book series now has four installments, each taking place during a season and each one bringing Mona closer to learning more about her parents. Best of all, it teaches kindness, compassion, and acceptance of others.
Summer is here and one of the hotel’s staff members, Ms. Prickles, is getting married. During the festivities, a mouse named Strawberry checks in wearing a seed necklace similar to the one Mona’s parents gave her when she was a baby. Could Strawberry be a long lost relative?
Mona was orphaned at a young age and has spent her whole life wanting to learn more about her parents. But answers to all of her questions will have to wait when a fire breaks out in Fernwood Forrest that threatens the longevity of the hotel. All of the friends that Mona has grown close to over the past year must scatter in different directions and the adage “Home is where the heart is” becomes all the more true, especially now that Mona’s loved ones are leaving the threatened forest.
This book makes mention of man for the first time in the series, although it doesn’t paint us as villains the way Bambi did. Instead, we are something the animals have reason the be cautious of. The fire is caused by lightning in the dry summer months. In a book series that celebrates the beauty and wonders of nature, this installment also reminds readers of the unpredictability and perilous behavior nature can have.
Since the third installment was published, Author Kallie George and Illustrator Stephanie Graegin have collaborated on a fun website that readers can visit at HeartwoodHotel.com. It acts like a booking website for the hotel, allowing fans to attempt to book a room by selecting their species and dates of travel. Like any hotel website, it also has information about the types of rooms and amenities, including restaurants and special events. A section labeled “Fun” includes activities kids can do to their reading experience.
I love how this story takes place over the course of a year, with each book taking Mona through a new season. The lessons Mona learns through each volume will be beneficial to the kids reading the series and can be used to help them understand and talk about their emotions and feelings. Home Again in particular would be beneficial to kids who have recently moved or whose home situation has changed drastically.
Heartwood Hotel: Home Again perfectly wraps up the series with another charming story. Mona may have lost her parents, but she learns that families and homes come in all shapes and sizes through the course of this four part series. The series closes by wrapping up all of its ongoing plot lines and giving readers a sense of closure. Recommended for ages 7 to 10, this quality series will spark a love of reading in kids and encourage them to seek out another great book.
Read reviews of the entire Heartwood Hotel series by clicking here.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.