It’s Christmas Eve, and all through the house, the mice are indeed stirring, whipping up candy treats as Santa’s secret helpers.
The 19th-century poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” inspired this whimsical debut picture book, but, according to Meyer, the holiday classic got it wrong. When a dad—reading the poem to his children on Christmas Eve—comes to “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” little Max, eavesdropping from a hole in the wall, is a bit indignant. Christmas Eve is the busiest night of all for Max and the rest of the Mouse family, living unseen behind the house’s walls. Part of Santa’s “secret team,” they are “stirring and mixing and cooking and baking” goodies to help fill the white family’s Christmas stockings. Meyer’s gentle fantasy is well-crafted and homey, inviting the book’s target audience into a snug kitchen where Mama Mouse makes sugarplums and Max and sister Molly stretch warm candy “’til it turned white as Santa’s beard.” The author’s playful touches include “magic mouse ladders” that enable the rodents to reach the mantel and turn into slides so they can “whoooooooosh” back down and a little spider character for children to track in each illustration. Kindly Santa Claus and Meyer’s end-of-book, mousecentric rewrite of the famous poem contribute to the tale’s overall warmth. Soft hues and appealing details add a sweet dream vibe in Saumell (Luna the Unicorn, 2017, etc.) and Papeo’s (Jack’s Favourite Things, 2010, etc.) full-bleed images. They alternate with pages of clear black text centered against a gold background bordered by a snowflake design.
A cozy, read-aloud holiday treat for children.