Gently bickering mouse siblings Benny and Penny have another backyard adventure, this time when they search for Benny’s lost pirate hat.
As the book opens, Benny is in a real funk—“a BAD mood!” His pirate hat is lost again, this time for two days. Mommy says he needs to stay outside until his good mood is restored. Equal parts helpful and hindering, Penny tags along on his quest, the fog-enshrouded backyard presenting a landscape it’s all too easy to imagine getting lost in. Over the course of this brief, comic-book story, the children explore a number of valences of lost and found. Benny loses Penny when she darts into the underbrush, having found her lost jump rope. He instructs her, “we need to be lost together.” When Penny frets that they are “REALLY lost,” Benny insists they aren’t: “We are right here.” Hayes also takes the opportunity to explore preschoolers’ mercurial emotions. The sibs are effective emotional foils for each other, Penny’s buoyant cheer grating on Benny’s determined dudgeon before she becomes anxious, then angry, then sad and frightened. Benny’s brave decision to be in a good mood marks a literal turning point, bringing the little lost mice home again. Hayes’ colored-pencil panels keep their sunny charm even in the fog.
These sweet sibs show no signs of growing old—thank goodness. (Graphic early reader. 5-8)