Something is preventing Owl from falling asleep.
Owl leans back against his white pillow and headboard. “Squeek!” says something underneath the bed. Owl’s never heard that sound before, so he fastens his pink bathrobe and answers the front door. Nobody. It must be the wind; back to bed. Bidding himself goodnight, he climbs into bed—and hears the noise again. Time after time, he pops out of bed seeking the squeaker. Is it in the cupboard? He empties the shelves. Under the floor? He pulls up his floorboards. As Owl’s actions ratchet up—he destroys the roof and smashes the walls, all in search of the squeak—so does his anxiety. Not until he hunkers down in bed under the night sky (his bed is now outdoors, because the house’s roof and walls are gone), frantically clutching his pillow, does he see what readers have seen all along: a small, gray mouse. In simple illustrations with black outlines, textured coloring, and foreshortened perspective, Pizzoli plays mischievously with mouse placement. Sometimes the mouse is behind Owl or just out of his sightline; other times, the mouse is on a solid, orange-colored page across the spread from Owl, which removes him from Owl’s scene in a rather postmodern manner. Is the mouse toying with Owl? Who knows?
A funny tale about stress and an ever upping ante, with a comforting end. (Picture book. 3-5)