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THE VERY BUSY DAY by Diana Hendry

THE VERY BUSY DAY

by Diana Hendry & illustrated by Jane Chapman

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-525-46825-0
Publisher: Dutton

Big Mouse out-drones the Little Red Hen in this clash of wills that’s a companion volume to Hendry’s The Very Noisy Night (1999). As Big Mouse works in the garden, he tries to enlist the help of Little Mouse, but Little Mouse begs leave: “I’m busy thinking about my dream.” Big Mouse continues to hector Little Mouse: come plant the seeds; come help weed; come give me a hand pushing the wheelbarrow to the dump; come pick berries with me. Little Mouse always has a handy and frivolous excuse: There’s dreaming to be done, daisies to be chained, clover to be picked, feathers to be collected. Ultimately, a more practical aspect is revealed behind Little Mouse’s seemingly random doings: a beautiful sun hat for Big Mouse. Why doesn’t Big Mouse try it on, take a break in the hammock, and—say—why not sample a few of those berries? Big Mouse almost declines the gift, which seems a bit much even for so sour a puss, but agrees to the brief foray into serendipity. Verdant artwork, full of humorous visual asides, softens the stridency, but Big Mouse’s priggishness overwhelms Little Mouse’s whimsicality and tends to curdle the whole proceedings. Leo Lionni said it first and better in Frederick. (Picture book. 3-6)