Two curious mice set out to find out what happens to the moon during the day in this Japanese import.
Declaring that the moon must really like them since it follows them around, Chuchu and Chichi decide to find out where it goes when the sun comes up. What at first looks like the object of their search turns out to be a balloon stuck in a tree. Then a glimpse of yellow prompts them to creep into a house and nibble on an unidentifiable “moon-fruit” (presumably a lemon, because it “was very tart!”) and to check out a small bell—which turns out to be connected to the collar of a very large and irate cat! Scurrying back out the window and into the tree, the two mice bite through the balloon’s string and escape into the sky…where they are last seen floating through the nighttime sky and hailing the bright moon. The co-published Can We Go to the Sea? is similarly open-ended, as Chuchu and Chichi are left traveling on the back of a leaping dolphin after floating down a stream and over a waterfall. Like the “moon-fruit,” Kobayashi’s versions of the moon, the balloon, the cat, and for that matter “Ms. Dolphin” don’t look particularly lifelike, but the mice, sporting big pink ears and baggy shorts, are cute, and their dramatic brushes with death at least help to counter the general blandness of the art and the storylines.
Sweet tales, if not quite scientifically rigorous or, for that matter, quite finished off. (Picture book. 6-8)