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Everybody’s Welcome

Patricia Hegarty, illus. Greg Abbott
Caterpillar Books
Age 3-5 years

Mouse dreams of a happy future in a house of his own. But then he meets several animals all in need of shelter including a frog whose pond has dried up and birds whose tree has been cut down. Mouse decides to happily share the dream home he is building. Word spreads and many more animals arrive. Working together they build mouse’s dream house just in time to shelter from the rain and celebrate together.

Everybody’s Welcome is a beautiful picturebook with delightful illustrations. The clever cut outs and cropped pages capture the growing number of animals arriving and the hive of activity as the house is built.

The rhyming text and repetitive refrain of ‘Everybody’s welcome’ will encourage children to join in as you reread the book. There are important themes to talk about here including the impact of humans on animal habitats and the importance of being welcoming and of working as a team. It is easy to spot the parallels with humans and the reasons they might lose their homes and seek sanctuary.

A positive, warm hearted picture book offering plenty for young readers to think about.



Share the story

Read aloud
Read the story aloud to your child, pausing to look at all the animals and activity in the detailed illustrations when your child wants to.

Join in
Children will quickly pick up on the rhyme and refrain. encourage them to join in with the chorus ‘Everybody’s welcome, no matter who they are, wherever they may come from, whether near or far.’

Talk about the story

  • Talk about the reasons the animals left their homes why for example people may have cut down the tree or why the pond may have dried up.

  • Share favourite illustrations.

  • Look at the illustration towards the back of the book of all the animals working on the house together. What jobs are they doing? What sort of things would different animals be good at? This might also lead to a discussion about the kinds of jobs involved in building a house.

Things to make and do

Play the story
Have imaginary conversations between the characters animals seeking shelter and the mouse. Use soft toys, or you could make finger puppets.

Make a welcome sign
On a large piece of paper children could draw or paint a welcome sign like the ones in the story.

Make a mini book with graduated pages
Take four pieces of A 4 paper and fold them in half. Then cut a 3cm strip off the left side of one of them, a 6 cm strip off the second and a 9cm strip off the third leaving the last piece of paper uncut. Place them on top of each other with the complete sheet on the bottom and the smallest on top. You could sew the sheets along the fold to keep them together.

Children could use this mini book to make their own version of the story or to make their own book about animal habitats.

Create a habitat
Find out about minibeasts and their habitats (see below). Collect some snails, or woodlice and recreate a habitat for them at home using a container such as an old fish tank. Look after the creatures by supplying their correct food and providing the right environment for them. Observe them for a few days before releasing back into the wild

Find out more

Other books by Patricia Hegarty include:

Bug Bear with Carmen Saldana

Above and Below with Hanako Clulow

We are Family with Ryan Wheatcroft

Other books illustrated by Greg Abbott include
There’s a Dragon in your Book  and There’s a Monster in your Book with Tom Palmer.

Find out about animal homes and habitats from information books and the internet.

Amazing Animal Homes by Chris Packham and Jason Cockcroft | Find out about how we can protect the natural environment and the habitats of wild life.

How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear by Jess French, ill. Angela Keoghan,

Go on a Minibeast hunt 
Talk about the different habitats needed for different animals. See here