Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Review: Thousand Star Hotel by the Okee Dokee Brothers

by Okee Dokee Brothers
Illustrated by Brandon Reese
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book w/ CD
ages 4 and up
40 pages

The Grammy®-winning Okee Dokee Brothers create a fanciful story—inspired by the folktale “The Fisherman and His Wife”—about the things we wish for . . . and the things we really need. 
"I’m sleepin’ in a thousand star hotel. 
Gold leaf pillow for my head.
Feel like a king on a king-size riverbed."

Once upon a time there were two muskrats who lived in a cabin near a big old river. Mr. Muskrat dreamt of catching enough fish to make them rich; Mrs. Muskrat was happy if they caught enough for a good supper. Then, one day, they reel in a giant golden catfish who promises to grant their wish if they set him free. The two muskrats agree to let the fish off the hook and he does keep his word . . . but in a most unexpected and magical way. (from the publisher's website)

A twelve track CD is included.


With the true feel of outdoor adventure, this delightful book brings a praised song to life in a way which is sure to wrap kids up in their own starlit dreams.

The original "The Fisherman and His Wife" folktale gains new life through Mr. and Mrs. Muskrat. This couple lives a simple life out in the woods. One night while fishing for their dinner, they catch a gigantic fish who agrees to grant them one wish in exchange for his freedom. Mr. Muskrat is determined to make this wish sit, but the results are unexpected.

Already the cover hints at a perfect bedtime read with its starlit sky and calm atmosphere. Mr. and Mrs. Muskrat are a sweet couple with gentle characters. While Mr. Muskrat doesn't radiate quite the same level of satisfaction as his wife, both come across warm-hearted and friendly. The depiction of their life style with a house missing a roof explains the situation clear without many words. Still, its never brought across as a pity party, but rather the idea of being satisfied with even the simplest things in life is a message which rings loud and clear.

The illustrations are bright and invite young listeners/readers to flip through again and again. The wish fish is huge and as golden as the opportunity he's offering. As an extra fun touch, Mr. Muskrat gets a two page spread of his funny shout whenever he suddenly stops a wish--a sure giggle inducing moment for kids.

The dialogue and wording is a treat. It brings a bit of backwoods dialect to life without over doing it The word choice brings smiles, while exposing the lovely characters of Mr. and Mrs. Muskrat. The vast world of wishes and dreams opens up, creating a perfect bedtime read, and the desire to see the stars is sure to come across as well.

With the ending comes a fun twist and an important message, which induces warm feelings of security and satisfaction. But that's not all. The book includes a CD with eleven songs, which are a treat to listen to, as well as a lovely audio version of the book.

And here they are. . .
The Okee Dokee Brothers!!!

As childhood friends growing up in Denver, CO, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were always exploring the outdoors. Whether it was rafting down their neighborhood creek or discovering hiking trails through the Rocky Mountains, Joe and Justin were born adventurers. They started playing music together in high school, and now, as the Grammy® Award-winning Okee Dokee Brothers, they have put their passion for the outdoors at the heart of their Americana folk music.
Joe and Justin make family music and write stories with a goal to inspire families to get outside and get creative. They believe this can motivate families to gain a greater respect for the natural world, for their communities, and for themselves. Learn more about them at

Meet the Illustrator. . .

Brandon Reese created the distinctive cover artwork for The Okee Dokee Brothers’ albums, and is also the illustrator for a number of clients including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., eeBoo, BOOM! Studios, and more. Brandon lives in NC with his wife and young son. Learn more about him online at

1 comment:

Crystal Collier said...

I like the cover. Granted, I've been relegated to the collection of kids books I have at the house lately, but it's time to start branching out again.