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LITTLE MOUSE’S BIG BOOK OF FEARS by Emily Gravett Kirkus Star


by Emily Gravett & illustrated by Emily Gravett

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-5930-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Under the guise of a self-help book whose instructions are obediently followed by a mouse taking notes on the pages, Gravett takes readers on an intense exploration of fear. Each page features one phobia. Carrying a full-sized (not mouse-sized) pencil, Little Mouse confronts various angsts (clinophobia, fear of going to bed; ablutophobia, fear of bathing), some tweaked for mouse-relevance (aichmophobia becomes fear of knives, as a circus is cancelled due to an unfortunate incident with a farmer’s wife). Most existential are whereamiophobia (fear of getting lost) and isolophobia (fear of solitude and, here, fear of the darkness of a solid-black page). Creative multimedia artwork with a frenetic vibe includes collage, foldouts (maps, newspapers), cutouts (nibbled page corners abound) and expressive and aptly wild pencil strokes. Myriad details—such as a receipt on the back cover listing the book’s condition as “Poor, scribbled in, rodent damage”—reinforce the setup. Timorous Mouse doesn’t vanquish the worries but does weather the dangers, revealing a tiny final smile at an unexpected turnabout. (Picture book. 3-7)