Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Éric Battut & illustrated by Éric Battut

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4027-7462-1
Publisher: Sterling

Young readers will thrill at being one step ahead of a protagonist who isn't quite so cunning as he thinks he is. A tiny mouse finds a bright red fruit approximately the size of his head. An apple? No matter, it’s clearly a “delicious treat”—one he wants all for himself. To keep it a secret, he hides it in the ground. Pals arrive—Squirrel, Bird, Turtle, Hedgehog, Rabbit and Frog, all roughly the same size as Mouse—to ask what he’s hiding. He replies to each, “It’s my secret, and I’ll never tell.” Little Mouse faces to the left as he speaks with each friend; behind him, unobserved by anyone except readers, something is happening. A sprout… a sapling… page by page, the fruit that Mouse accidentally planted grows into a tree, which blossoms and bears more fruit. Mouse, still facing left, stands beneath the tree he hasn’t noticed, guarding his secret with total naïveté—until the fruit all falls down. Mouse doesn’t mind; now everyone can partake. Battut’s oil paintings are a wonder of scale: The wee, delicate animals cluster on the bottom right side of a vast spread of calmingly pale, luminescent yellow. Even the tree at its tallest stays tranquilly centered mid-right, leaving plenty of creamy yellow background to showcase the largeness of the world from a child’s-eye view and how easy it is to focus on the most important thing in that world. (Picture book. 2-5)