Mili and her Sprout Street friends go to Paris.
When Mili’s life seems dull, she takes inspiration from a print of the Mona Lisa, which she then shows to her animal friends, who jump at the chance to visit Paris. However, as the time for the big trip draws near and then arrives, each friend feels anxious about the upcoming adventure. Henry is afraid he will miss all his books and home possessions. Emma’s overfull luggage bursts, leaving her nothing to rely on but Mili’s thoughtfulness. Fernando’s concerns about the language barrier threaten his enjoyment of the trip. And Wilbur worries about leaving his beloved garden. All the travelers cope with their fears and love seeing the Mona Lisa and the wonders of the Louvre, although Mili feels overwhelmed by her empty sketchbook. How will she ever be like the artists she sees in the museum? Adult animals taking a trip to France may seem like an unlikely topic for a children’s book, but Alter’s little menagerie displays a familiar constellation of anxieties for readers who are facing change, and the ways they manage those fears are instructive. Gentle black and white sketches adorn most spreads, making this little gem accessible to transitioning readers.
Each friend finds what he or she is looking for by traveling, including the fact that there is no place quite as sweet as home, in this sympathetic tale. (Fiction. 5-8)