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MOUSE ISLAND by Eve Bunting


by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Dominic Catalano

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59078-447-1
Publisher: Boyds Mills

Bunting’s story of an island-dwelling mouse is a tale of longing written with great flair, but it is also a bit perplexing. “Mouse lived alone on an island,” it begins. Shortly thereafter, readers learn that “mouse wondered why he wasn’t the most contented mouse on earth.” Mouse might be clueless, but even the youngest readers will be hip to the problem. As Mouse attends to his daily rounds of the island—“Mouse tiptoed among the tide pools, nibbling the soft-bellied sea things”—sea lions honk to him from the beach and Herring Gull drops in for a visit, extending an invitation to see the world. So friends are available. Maybe Mouse needs more than friends; maybe Mouse needs a mate. Yet, the half-drowned furry thing he rescues from a shipwreck isn’t another mouse. It’s a cat. Mating is out, though friendship is in after initial misunderstandings are tidied up: “I would never eat you . . . I am an honorable cat and I have an obligation.” Cat even teaches Mouse how to play beach volleyball. But aren’t sea lions renowned ball handlers? Why didn’t they teach Mouse? Still, much pleasure can be found in Bunting’s melodious prose—“He saw whales passing, their white breaths smoking against the sky”—as well as Catalano’s lovely pastels. (Picture book. 5-7)