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by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Bin Lee

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8075-8010-3
Publisher: Whitman

Ten tiny mice find themselves outside in the snow on Christmas Eve, seeking shelter and companionship.

At first the mice are all huddled together, just trying to survive in the snow. One by one, the mice venture away from the group, with each finding a different type of refuge. Some of the shelters are obvious choices, such as a fallen branch or an open milkweed pod, while others are more fanciful, like a quickly made overcoat from cattail fluff. Before long, the mice miss each other, so they creep back together for singing and dancing in the snow before moving on to a new shelter together within a hollow log. Their group home even has some hidden berries for a midnight mouse-friend feast. The short, rhyming text with just a few lines per page sets a hushed, poetic tone, complementing the late-night setting. Lee’s illustrations use a muted nighttime palette of deep blues and browns, but moonlight and starlight shining on the snow illuminate the scenes. His mouse characters are appealing, appearing to move naturally, even while dancing and singing in the snow.  

The group sheltering together against the elements has echoes of Jan Brett's The Mitten (1989), but this time the protective structure has room for all to take cover in safety. (Picture book. 3-7)