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by Bernard Waber & illustrated by Bernard Waber

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-97518-2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Waber (Lyle at Christmas, 1998, etc.) introduces another beguiling and worthy creature into an unsuspecting home where it first disrupts, then engages, then makes itself a part. First off, the home is a pretty curious abode of great silence: “the quiet man, the quiet woman, / the quiet cat and bird, / ate their dinner, sipped their drink, / and never spoke a word.” They would never eat a radish, for instance, because of the snap-crunch. “They ate instead, / stewed tomatoes, / mashed potatoes, / and puddings made of bread.” Into this scene of utter tranquility, one stormy night, enters a mouse, “who was tired and hungry, / and had seen better days.” The mouse finds the pantry and starts tucking it in. Sated, he takes a snooze and, oh, how his snores rock the house. “Glassware clinked, / dishes clattered. / A bowl from the cupboard / fell and shattered.” Blasted from their sleep, the house’s inhabitants hasten to the source of the racket. The mouse explains his dire circumstances, shows contrition, and learns to walk softly in the world. Except for the nighttime, when he continues to snore like a series of gas explosions. Earplugs remedy that annoyance. Live and let live, Waber counsels, we all have our quirks (snoring is a public nuisance, but what about that obsessive/compulsive need for quiet?), and always extend a helping hand to our fellow creatures. Read aloud, Waber’s verse is music—“His snores were roars / with whistling encores”—and his artwork roughly handsome, with the deep-dish color of crayons, plus plenty of it is in panels to keep eyes entertained as the verse unwinds. (Picture book. 4-8)