MISS MOUSE TAKES OFF

“My trip, by me, Miss Mouse.” The ever-cheerful rag mouse first introduced in Miss Mouse’s Day (2000) here accompanies her youthful owner on a plane trip with Mum. Bright illustrations and a simple text keep the narrative focused on those events that are most meaningful to small children: checking in the luggage, sending belongings (including Miss Mouse!) through the X-ray machine, the excitement of takeoff, and then the inevitable boredom of a long flight—relieved by a newfound friend in the row in front. Brightly colored sequential panels illustrate the progress of the trip and are particularly effective when depicting the cramped confines of the plane’s interior, where one seat’s space intrudes into the next. Although the text is nominally in Miss Mouse’s voice, the voice of her owner, a feisty, blond preschool-age girl, occasionally breaks through, as when the little girl leaves Miss Mouse in the bathroom: “Miss Mouse? / MISS MOUSE! / MISS MOUSE! / WHERE IS MISS MOUSE?!? / Here I am!” This moment of great tension illustrates Ormerod’s near-perfect understanding of the relationship children have with their inanimate friends: the little girl moves effortlessly in and out of her toy’s identity in a manner that may be somewhat disorienting to an adult reader but makes perfect sense to a child. An entirely successful illustration of an experience common to many small children right down to the effervescent end, in which our intrepid travelers, stripped down to short sleeves and sandals, wonder, “Will she be waiting for us?” Of course: it’s “Granny!(Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-17870-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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LITTLE QUACK

The odyssey of ducklings venturing forth from their comfortable nests into the big world resonates with children and has been a well-traveled subject of many works geared toward young readers. Thompson’s (Mouse’s First Valentine, 2002, etc.) latest effort will certainly appeal to youngsters despite its lack of originality. Mama Duck is coaxing her five hesitant ducklings (Widdle, Waddle, Piddle, Puddle, and Little Quack) into the water one at a time. A “quack-u-lator” at the bottom of the pages adds an interesting mathematical element, helping children count along as ducklings jump into the pond. Mama encourages each nervous duckling to “paddle on the water with me . . . you can do it . . . I know you can.” Overcoming their initial fright, the first four ducklings “splish, splash, sploosh, and splosh” happily into the water. The simple tale’s climax occurs when Little Quack wavers at the water’s edge. “Could he do it? Did he dare?” Not to spoil the ending, but suffice it to say all five ducklings swim off “proud as can be.” In his debut effort, Anderson’s bright and colorful illustrations are lively and captivating. The five adorable ducklings embark on this rite of passage sporting unique looks ranging from Mohawk-type head feathers to orange spots and flowered hair adornments. A pleasant enough take on an old standby. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-84723-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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