Mouse Shapes

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh

I have always enjoyed Walsh’s mouse series, especially the illustrations.  Her mice and cats are so simple but accurate at the same time. 

In this book, the mice are running from the cat and find themselves near a pile of colored shapes.  They discover they can create things from the shapes: houses, trees, a sun.  And then more and more intricate designs.  When the cat pounces at them, the mice come up with a cunning plan to use the shapes to scare him away.

As always, the story is simple, the words are easy, and the illustrations are welcoming and bright.  Walsh has once again captured with her paper designs a world of clever mice and menacing cats.  I loved the juxtaposition of this wonderful paper artist having her mice characters create things out of colored paper shapes.  To me it was the perfect cherry on this wonderful book.

Recommended to add to your mouse story times, but also to discuss shapes, colors and to promote creating things from shapes.  I can see this leading to a table filled with paper shapes and a long time of gluing, ripping and creating.  This book will work well with toddlers and younger preschoolers.

Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary

Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary by Beverly Donofrio and Barbara McClintock.

What an absolutely wonderful book!  It combines a classic feel with a marvelous story.  Mary hadn’t even realized that there was a mouse family living in her walls until she drops her fork at the same exact time the little mouse drops her spoon.  They spot one another through the mouse hole and grow up side by side, living parallel lives.  They miss one another in college and are reunited as they end up in the same house once again, both with daughters of their own.  But the daughters prove to both be much more forward than their mothers!

For me it was the illustrations that drew me in and held me fast, but for my sons the words and pace of the book caught them by the second page.  So we have a perfect pairing here.  McClintock’s illustrations remind one of books from the 50s and 60s.  They have a vintage feel that adds a real charm and cozy quality to the book.  Donofrio’s text is filled with lovely patterns and rhythms echoed in the illustrations.  The pacing is dynamic and enticing while the illustrations are cozy and sweet.  I love the way they work together in the book.

Highly recommended as a bedtime read.  Not as good for groups of children, because everyone will want to gaze at and discuss the mouse homes.  I would also recommend this as a perfect holiday present to any young girl in your family, ages 4-7.  It’s guaranteed to please the parents too.

Definitely Worth the Trip

A huge warm welcome to the Kidslitosphere for fellow Wisconsinite KT Horning!  Not only is KT active on the national children’s lit level, but she also runs the Cooperative Children’s Book Center in Madison, a place where I wish I had time to simply bunk down for months and read, read, read.

KT’s new blog is Worth the Trip, a blog of “queer books for kids and teens.”  Hurrah!  I am adding it immediately to my collection of blogs I must read daily.

Thanks to several other blogs for the link.  Definitely worth repeating.