A mouse fears the loss of his woodpile home—and the cat who stalks him outside it—in this picture book for beginning readers by debut author/illustrator Ericsson.
Jimey, a small, white rodent—pictured as having a triangular head, a triangular body, and two large, oval-shaped ears—lives in a woodpile on Farmer Karson’s farm. He loves his home: it keeps him dry, warm, and safe from Kloee, a tuxedo cat illustrated in a similar, geometric fashion. As winter approaches, the woodpile becomes smaller and smaller, and Jimey begins to wonder what will happen if it vanishes altogether. But when the mouse is at his lowest, he hears a crashing sound and finds that not only has his woodpile been replenished, but also that the farmer has been watching over him. The allegorical tone of Farmer Karson’s statement (“There’s no need to be afraid, my friend. I’ve been looking out for you all along”) is reminiscent of tales in which a loving God watches over his followers, but the focus of the book is appropriately on Jimey’s joys and fears. At first glance, readers may find the two distinct illustration styles to be dissonant—the geometric patterns of Jimey and Kloee, and the background images, which have an altered, photographic quality. But by the end, the contrast seems to fit the story. Ericsson also includes seek-and-find pages at the end of the book, encouraging young readers to look for recurring details, such as a ladybug that appears on several pages, or a teddy bear in Jimey’s home. For readers who need larger print, the author enlarges images and clearly prints the word that represents them below. The density of the text may be a hurdle for beginning readers, but the vocabulary is well-suited to its age group. Youngsters will be happy for Jimey when his woodpile is restored.
A low-conflict, quiet book with an intriguing mix of illustrations and a message about not worrying too much about the future.