Heartwood Hotel
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Heartwood Hotel: A True Home

Heartwood Hotel: A True Home

Heartwood Hotel: Better Together

Kirkus Reviews
Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously. A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

Dad of Divas
This is a really sweet book about friendship, courage and community. The reader will become involved with the characters challenges, pasts, and how they overcome issues with the other animals at the hotel. The reader will learn her courage as the hotel and its inhabitants are threatened by wolves. She gains their trust and friendship and becomes a permanent inhabitant and maid of the hotel. Such a wonderful chapter book for a child to read independently or for a child and parent to read together.

Imagination Soup
Lost in a storm, with no home or destination, Mona the Mouse discovers a beautiful hotel for forest animals. There she works as a maid to earn her room and board. But more than that, she helps solve problems and learns about her family connection to the lovely hotel where she’s invited to stay as long as she wants. This is a sweet, warm-hearted adventure of resiliency and friendship. 

Publisher's Weekly
Seeking shelter in a storm, a mouse named Mona stumbles on the Heartwood Hotel, a swanky getaway for woodland animals located within a tree, then gets hired as a maid. In this compassionate and comforting first book in the Heartwood Hotel series, George (the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series) introduces a supremely cozy setting in the hideaway hotel and a well-developed cast of staffers and guests. Mona’s innate kindness goes a long way at an establishment whose motto is “We live by ‘protect and respect,’ not by ‘tooth and claw.’”

Carla Loves Store
This is a delightful story for late primary readers who are ready for more difficult chapter books . . . Children will be amused by the delightful world within this Hotel, as well as the many life lessons that Mona learns and teaches others along the way. The various animals at the hotel are all varied and have different talents and interests. The owner, a badger named Mr. Heartwood, is kind and generous to a fault. The guests all have different needs that must be taken care of. It is a wonderful cast of characters. There is some adventure, problem solving as well as a little danger. This would make a nice read aloud in a primary class where there is a chapter read each day with some good discussions to follow. I really like the ideas about friendship, class structure as well as facing your fears and helping your friends. There is also lessons about loss, self-confidence and to some degree bullying. It is not in your face, but the ideas are all there. A good addition to a school or class library.

The Little Crooked Cottage
We love reading chapter books aloud on summer nights in our house. Kallie George’s heartwarming first book in the Heartwood Hotel series is a perfect chapter-a-night read. Young readers will enjoy being be transported to the tiny woodland world where Mona the Mouse discovers the Heartwood Hotel while seeking shelter from a rainstorm. Mona is quickly welcomed into the fold—where a cast of characters, soft moss-lined beds, and a little adventure (and danger!) awaits. 

Mundie Kids
A cute woodland story about friendship, courage, overcoming challenges, and the true meaning of home.
Heartwood Hotel is an enjoyable read that takes readers into the heart of the woods, and introduces them to a variety of woodland animal (and a few insect characters too). With Graegin's illustrations (I love this cover), and George's storytelling, this story is one that will make you wish you could spend longer than the time it takes to read this book, with Mona and her woodland friends. One of the things I really enjoyed about this story, is that it encompasses topics that young chapter book readers can understand. Like feeling lonely, feeling like you belong, finding new friends, doing your best despite feeling you're too small to do anything, friendship, jealously, helping others, and doing your best. Mona the mouse is a character who starts off feeling scared, lonely and a little insecure, and ends up finding she's brave, courageous, a good friend, and strong in knowing who she is. This is a great book to pick up for kids that are reading chapter books. It also makes for a great read aloud. We're looking forward to reading the next book in this adorable series.

Batch of Books
I can’t wait to tell you about the CUTEST new chapter book series! My two older girls and I all read the first two books in the Heartwood Hotel series by Kallie George and these books are ADORABLE. When I was a kid, I wrote stories constantly. And guess what my main character always was? A mouse. So, I’m not surprised that this series hit all my soft spots. Even though it’s modern and will appeal to modern children, it has that warm, throwback feel I remember from the books I read as a child. These two books brought back so many happy memories of reading Old Mother West Wind, The Wind in the Willows, and writing my own stories. In all honesty, I fell hard in love with this series. These are happy, feel-good books that warm you from the inside out. The best part is that after she finished reading the books, I “borrowed” it from her and read them myself. We’ve been discussing the characters and how cute the stories are. Now, my nine-year-old says she needs to read them too.

Just One More Chapter
Heartwood Hotel, with the secret entrance hidden in a tree, a place of refuge for lost creatures of the wilderness, those that are easy prey for larger beasts of the woods. What an absolutely delightful little story, it reminded me of The Wind in the Willows and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nim. With the storm raging Mona accidentally stumbles upon this little place of refuge and gets more than she bargained. With a wonderful cast of characters from the animal kingdom this is a story of friendship, courage and compassion. There is danger and adventure here but toned down for the targeted age.With lovely penciled drawings scattered throughout I suggest either a print copy or reading in a tablet (sorry but a kindle won't do it justice).

Michigan Mom Living
The Heartwood Hotel series is comprised of adorable, cute early chapter books geared for ages 7-10 with it’s easy reading and visual penciled pictures along the way. Youngsters can read and engage themselves in this series as they follow Mona through her family tragedy and the hunt to find another home and friends and acceptance. In this series, there are a lot of life lessons of acceptance that young readers will capture along the way. The Heartwood Hotel’s motto is: “We Live by Protect and Respect, Not by Tooth and Claw”, which the author thinks applies beyond the great tree’s rooms and will resonate with young readers and I agree! I can easily see my 7-year old son enjoying this series if he reads by himself or if it’s a book we read nightly together. Either way, it will keep his interest.

Once Upon a Twilight
Heartwood Hotel is a sweet story that teaches that breaking rules for good and kind gestures isn't bad. Sometimes we will need to break the rules and do what's right. Mona wasn't scared to break these rules because she knew these fellow animals needed her help. She was kind and compassionate. We also learn that facing our fears and being brave is hard but at times we must face reality and our fears. Also, that working as a team many things can get accomplished. Mona with fierce determination saves all the animals. She was home and she didn't want anyone or anything to be ruined. With her kindness, even the bear was willing to help! It shows that kindness can go a long way. And home is where the heart is.

Canlit for Little Canadians
How do I convey to readers the infinite sweetness and gentility of A True Home? From the warm-hearted atmosphere and compassionate mission of the Heartwood Hotel and its staff to the plot of finding home, amidst common foibles and uncommon dangers, Kallie George's text is rich in friendship, courtesy, diversity and affection. That majestic tree's hotel is built upon a solid foundation of respect for all creatures and the natural world of interrelationships, though as in the human world some need to be avoided if one is to survive. But even the wolves, though frightening to many of the residents at the Heartwood Hotel, have an inane quality about them, squabbling about their achievements and the existence of the Heartwood Hotel. By doing this, Kallie George makes A True Home a suitable read-aloud for younger children who will easily be able to imagine the Hotel with its miscellaneous accommodations (including the root floors with hibernation suites, trunk floors, branch floors, twig floors and honeymoon and penthouse suites) and star-gazing balcony and ballroom. Graced with the black-and-white pencil drawings of American illustrator Stephanie Graegin, Heartwood Hotel's first book, A True Home, has surely found a place for itself in youngCanLit by captivating and gladdening our own hearts.

I love a good forest story. I was enchanted by the (slightly weird) world of Beatrix Potter as a child and spent many hours imagining life in Toad Hall, Ratty's waterside home and Badger's complex burrow deep in the Wild Wood. I even created the label Forest Story to keep track of books in this genre I reviewed. And, while there aren't a lot of books that come along in the precise vein of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, Kallie George's new series, Heartwood Hotel, with charming illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, is a marvelous forest story with the kind of caring, friendship and community that you find in Grahame's book. And, be sure to check out the equally charming and wonderful Heartwood Hotel website for these books where you can learn more about the hotel (the staff, the menu, the rooms) and print out creative activities that let readers design a room for the hotel, create a menu and craft a miniature suitcase!

CM Review
4/4 stars
A True Home and The Greatest Gift are the first two novels in the “Heartwood Hotel” chapter book series: sweet, funny tales about a hotel for small forest animals. Mona is a mouse who finds a refuge at the Heartwood Hotel when her home gets flooded out in a storm. She can’t afford to stay as a guest, but she is hired temporarily to help out during the busy fall season. The setting and characters of Heartwood Hotel are adorable without being saccharine. A hotel made out of a hollow tree and sized for mice and badgers is brought to life with clever, humourous details. The plot has fun episodic adventures but also a longer, more poignant arc about Mona learning where she comes from and what happened to her family. The development of Mona’s and Tilly’s friendship is the glue that holds all the pieces together, and it will resonate particularly with children who encounter the same hesitation, misunderstanding and awkwardness as they learn how to make and keep friends. This series should prove popular with kids who like anthropomorphized animal stories, stories about small people in miniature worlds, and humourous adventures starring unlikely but stalwart heroes. Adults reading these stories aloud will enjoy the sly pokes at certain societal conventions and the clever development of the hollow tree setting. Highly Recommended.

The Laughing Place Blogspot
The Heartwood Hotel series approaches emotions in a charming way, with previous books describing sad experiences as “hurts.” Aimed at readers in 2nd-5th grade, the series provides a great role model for dealing with strong feelings in thoughtful and rational ways. Despite being stories about animals, the series helps kids deal with their uniquely human feelings. Stephanie Graegin also returns to illustrate this third book, providing pencil drawings to help underscore key moments in the story and inspiring kids’ imaginations with this cuddly world. Her work has a quality that reminds me of E. H. Shepard’s drawings for A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series. While the book is at a reading level perfect for elementary school kids, the illustrations also make it easily accessible for parents to read to younger kids. The chapters are short, allowing kids to digest them at a pace they’re comfortable with. Disney Hyperion has taken great care to make sure that the artwork on the dust jacket and hardcover match the themes established in the first two books, which also makes them a visually striking addition to your child’s bookshelf.

Bottomless Book Bag Review
This is a delightful and charming series for our youngest elementary students. Advanced readers in Kindergarten - second grade will love reading these books on their own. They are also great read alouds for the teachers and parents to share with their children. 

Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup Blogspot
Heartwood Hotel is such a cute series, and this first book was such a delight. Mona is such a sweet little heroine who starts out homeless and then stumbles open a beautiful hotel in the forest. I wanted to cuddle Mona throughout the story because she is so kind, but is full of determination. She’s a great role model character for younger readers. Each character is so charming, though! I LOVED bossy Tilly, though she somewhat reminded me of my own mother. This first book is just so comfortable, warm and cozy. It’s the kind of book that you want to snuggle with a warm blanket and a hot drink. While there is some danger in the story, it’s nothing too frighting, but it teaches children about finding strength in unlikely situations and how friendship can help solve bigger problems. I also want to praise the illustrations by Stephanie Graegin, which I feel accompany the story so beautifully. I loved having the pictures side-by-side with the text, and I can only imagine how beautiful the artwork looks in the finished edition.

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers Blogspot
An adorable addition to the growing Heartwood Hotel series with enough danger and excitement to keep it interesting, but a whole lot of the friendship and heart we've come to love. It was great visiting with old friends, enjoyable making new ones, and wonderful to see Mona settle in more at her new(ish) home. The "return of the grump" was an unfortunate setback, but realistic (you can't tell me you've never felt unnecessarily grumpy thanks to someone or something in your life) and the way Mona handles it was admirable. Change isn't always easy, especially when you feel slighted or left behind, but accepting it and finding a new way to look at things can certainly turn a frown upside down; seeking the open arms and hearts of our friends never hurt anyone either. All our animal friends have to work together to divert a common threat (gasp!) and while they certainly aren't jumping (or flying) at the chance to act as one, if anyone can get them to cooperate, it's Mona...and maybe even Henry. So go ahead, pick your dates, plan your stay, and get ready to have a relaxing vacation at your best home away from home choice, this side of Fernwood Forest. Even though Mr. Heartwood is away, you're still in good hands...and don't forget to join the festivities!

Audrey's Books
Kallie George has created an absolutely charming and whimsical story. It is full of endearing characters that young children will love, along with some great life lessons, too. She deals with bravery, compassion and self-esteem and of course the power of friendship. This book is perfect for kids who are reading early chapter books but looking for something just a little more difficult. And as my eight-year-old can attest, it makes a great read aloud! — Kelly Dyer, Manager/Children’s Buyer

Jean Little Library Blogspot
Mona Mouse has been through a lot in the first two titles of the Heartwood Hotel series. Her daily trials and tribulations as she struggles to fit into her small world, as well as the adorable miniature art pieces that fill the book, are relatable to many of my small patrons. They are a little challenging for beginning chapter readers who aren't yet fluent, but dearly loved by younger readers with a high degree of fluency and vocabulary who aren't yet ready for more mature middle grade titles. Verdict: I have several readers eagerly awaiting the latest in this series and I strongly recommend it as an addition to any library collection that is trying to meet the needs of this community of readers.

Books4YourKids Blogspot
Last year I reviewed A True Home by Kallie George, charmingly illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, the first book in the Heartwood Hotel series featuring the forest adventures of a crew of creatures running a bustling hotel. The Heartwood Hotel books bring to life the the charming creativity of an anthropomorphized community of woodland creatures, balancing it with the unpredictable dangers of life in the natural world. In Better Together, Mr. Heartwood is taking a well deserved vacation and his dedicated staff is ready to keep things running smoothly. But, news of a new hotel coming to Fernwood Forest has the staff worried about competition. What can they do to prove that the Heartwood Hotel is the best there is? Throw a party, of course. Not just a party, but a Spring Splash, featuring competitions like the Cutest Egg (nesting baskets provided), the Tiniest Talent and the Best Blossom. When an owl attack threatens the celebrations, Mona finds away to unite standoffish factions and save the day, but not without putting herself in a dangerous spot. Better Together ends on a happy note, with Mona healing and, as she searches through old guest books, making a discovery about her own long lost family.

Heartwood Hotel | Text © Kallie George | Illustrations © Stephanie Graegin