Who doesn’t love a parade?
In this book, the parade starts on the copyright page. A badger juggles ripe plums. Birds toss flower petals into the crowd. A squirrel plays a fiddle made out of a walnut shell. Sitting in the middle is the saddest mouse in the world, staring at his feet. He won’t cheer up even when his friends bounce him through the air on a blanket. He’s not a parade sort of mouse. He spends several pages of the book just looking wordlessly down at the ground. (The story is a better study of depression than some textbooks.) The narrative sometimes shifts suddenly from pages filled with dialogue to pages with no words at all. The contrast is sometimes shocking, but the book teaches readers as they turn the pages. Each animal has an elaborate cure for sadness, and their expressions alone tell the story every time they try a new scheme. The message of the book is a little slight: Sometimes a mouse just needs a hug. But every squirrel, mole and badger on every page feels genuinely alive. And it’s true: Sometimes a mouse does just need a hug.
Simple and satisfying. (Picture book. 4-8)