Little Mouse makes a triumphant return, this time trading a pen for a paintbrush to tackle fearsome foes.
In this follow-up to Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (2008), Little Mouse edits Emily Gravett’s Big Book of Beasts, both offering an articulation of one mouse’s dislikes and ultimately making each creature seem a little less frightening. Little Mouse, who “prefer[s] jelly dishes to jelly fishes,” covers the illustrated lion’s paws with “pretty mittens” and ties up the crab’s claws with embroidery floss, noting “I do NOT like LOUD lions” and “crabs give me the creeps,” with each respective action. The final spread juxtaposes a poem about a mouse—“The tiny mouse is mild and meek, / And preyed upon, / And seen as weak”—with the image of a Frankenstein-esque mouse-monster created through collaged flaps of previous creature features “torn” from those pages and pasted over the mouse as overlaid flaps. Bright colors and bold paint strokes add cheer to balance Little Mouse’s anxieties, and the liberties Mouse takes with every aspect of the book can be empowering to readers as well. Nibbled pages, flaps, and cutouts combine with playful collage to create busy, humorous spreads that beg to be read again and again—at least until the flaps are torn off, which is sure to happen with enthusiastic use.
Sweet and silly, this metafictive romp is sure to please even the most anxious readers. (Picture book. 4-8)