By Henrik Drescher
Candlewick Press, 2008
Far away from anywhere big and important, in a little cozy cottage surrounded by fruit trees and berry bushes, lived McFig and his little daughter, Rosie. One day, a stranger named McFly and his son, Anton, bought the land next door. This was OK with McFig, as long as they weren’t noisy or smelly.
In fact, they’re just the opposite. McFig and McFly have quite a bit in common and get along marvelously. So marvelously in fact, that McFig helps McFly build a cottage exactly like his own. But when McFig also builds a tall tower with his leftover lumber — making his house just a teensy bit bigger and better — so starts a competition that will consume, and eventually end, their lives. The drawings are riotous — I’m pretty sure McFly is a Cyclops — and my kids loved poring over the details of the endless home improvements which include a bungee-jumping platform, roof-top tennis court, glass escalator, elevator, Corinthian columns, gabled dormers, and a very unfortunate fish-bone-and-garbage-can weather vane. McFly’s untimely death is met with a cartoonish “SPLAT!” which rattled my nearly-three-year-old, but she recovered quickly at the lovely and very happy ending.