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MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. MOUSE

Overall, a warm Christmas story with jolly rhymes and happy times for both the humans and the mice who share this house.

Mr. and Mrs. Mouse and their 17 children celebrate their first Christmas in their new home under the floorboards of a warm kitchen.

The husband-and-wife creators of the popular Snowmen at Night series move from snowy scenes to a cozy mouse house with a large family of anthropomorphic mice. In rhyming verse, the text describes how Mr. Mouse buys a new home for his family in a safe spot in a big house occupied by a human family getting ready for Christmas. Inspired, Mr. and Mrs. Mouse decide to provide a celebration for their family, too. With tiny items taken from the human home, the mouse parents create a decorated Christmas tree, and Mrs. Mouse sews pajamas for all the children. Santa doesn’t forget the mouse family on Christmas Eve, leaving tiny presents for all. Mark Buehner’s detail-filled paintings are great fun to peruse. Memorable illustrations include a magical scene of the mouse couple hiding in the humans’ Christmas tree and a sweeping view of the reindeer in flight as seen from above. Each illustration also contains three tiny hidden animals (a rabbit, a cat, and a Tyrannosaurus rex), which are often difficult to spot and are unnecessary to the story. A key to these hidden pictures is printed on the inside of the dust jacket.

Overall, a warm Christmas story with jolly rhymes and happy times for both the humans and the mice who share this house. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4010-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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ADDIE ANT GOES ON AN ADVENTURE

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade.

An ant explores her world.

Addie Ant’s ready for adventure. Despite some trepidation about leaving the Tomato Bed, where she lives with her aunt, she plucks up her courage and ventures forth across the garden to the far side of the shed. On her journey, she meets her pal Lewis Ladybug, who greets her warmly, points the way, and offers sage advice. When Addie arrives at her destination, she’s welcomed by lovely Beatrix Butterfly and enjoys an “ant-tastic” helping of watermelon. Beatrix also provides Addie with take-home treats and a map for the “Cricket Express,” which will take her straight home. Arriving at the terminal, Addie’s delighted to meet another friend, Cleo Cricket, whose carriage service returns Addie home in “two hops.” After eating a warm tomato soup dinner, Addie falls asleep and dreams of future exploits. Adorable though not terribly original, this story brims with sensuous pleasures, both textual and visual. Kids who declare that they dislike fruits or veggies may find their mouths watering at the mentions and sights of luscious tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelons, berries, and other foodstuffs; insect-averse readers may likewise think differently after encountering these convivial, wide-eyed characters. And those flowers and herbs everywhere! The highlights are the colors that burst from the pages. Addie’s an endearing, empowering character who reassures children they’ll be able to take those first independent steps successfully.

Young readers will be “antsy” to join the hero on her satisfying escapade. (author’s note about ants) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781797228914

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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