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by Teddy Jam & illustrated by Joanne Fitzgerald

Pub Date: March 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-88899-229-7
Publisher: Groundwood

A replica of a log cabin, the prize for answering a question on the back of a cereal box correctly, arrives at Jacob's house; when he lifts off the roof, he sees four sleeping girl dolls. That night, after Jacob wishes his parents good-night, the dolls come to life, and they are an exacting bunch: They're hungry, they want a bath, they want new clothes made for them, etc. Jacob notes that they aren't behaving like stalwart pioneers, so he takes on the role, ingeniously satisfying the girls' demands. Then comes an unexpected hint of sadness when Jacob tells the girls a story: ``Once upon a time there was a little boy who wanted a log cabin. He was a very lonely little boy and when he got the log cabin he was going to pretend he lived there.'' The book ends on an ambiguous note—was Jacob dreaming? Jam's story is a rich stew, by turns charming and disarming, sweet and clever, and touched with melancholy. Fitzgerald's illustrations are amiable confections that do their best to capture the many layers of the tale. (Picture book. 3-6)