A shy mouse gains some courage and some new friends, bringing the town together in the process.
Mirabel has always been very shy, but nevertheless she crafts homemade cards for her classmates for Valentine’s Day. The nervous girl forces her steps toward school but fails to notice the hole in her bag that lets the cards drop one by one in front of delighted townspeople: a lonely old woman with an empty mailbox, workers digging a hole, a father with a child, a gummed-up jogger, and “A garbage man enduring / yet another rotten smell / chuckled as he grabbed a scrap / before the scooper fell” (the only awkward line in the otherwise spot-on rhyming verse). But they all hear Mirabel cry out when she discovers her empty bag, and they return the cards: “Thanks for sharing them with us, / if only for a while.” That boost of confidence gets Mirabel through her class party, and on her walk home, her collection grows as her new friends add their own cards. Opening endpapers show Mirabel’s path to school and the local folks she will cross paths with; in the closing ones, the folks are now interacting with one another, lonely no more. Mueller’s digital artwork shows a town full of cuddly anthropomorphic animals. Mirabel is a white mouse.
This may not help similarly shy kids, but it may give readers some inspiration. (Picture book. 4-8)