This is a simple story in which the grumpy Brute familychanges from being cross and mean to each other to being friendly and doing things together. This transformation is effected without any preachiness - being nice and more sociable is simply more fun. The illustrations are wonderful. The Brutes don't look very brutish, with their furriness and soft colors, just bad tempered and adorably ugly. Mother Brute's messy beehive hairdo is about as scary-looking as it gets. If the badgers from A Bargain for Frances (same illustrator) had some distant feral relatives, they might look like the Brutes. It's a great book that I loved as a child, and that adults like also. The Stone Doll of Sister Brute is as good (better, actually), and Harvey's Hideout (by the same team) has a similar theme, but features muskrats. These books are also challenging to find. The Hobans' much reprinted Frances books are sweet, but the Brute family books are also wonderful creations, less mild and a lot funnier. They definitely deserve to be reprinted as well.