A lonely mouse is determined to find out if the neighboring cat might be a new friend.
A little gray mouse lives in a small house, and in the palace next door lives a white cat. Every evening, the two neighbors watch each other—the mouse from his roof, the cat from her high window. When the mouse discovers a hole in the palace wall, he decides to see if the hours spent in mutual contemplation mean that he and the cat are friends. As the mouse makes his way up, he becomes nervous: “What if he was wrong? If he was, the cat would tear him to pieces.” Curiosity outweighs fear, however, and the mouse creeps up to the cat in her window, finally asking, “are you friend or foe?” In response, the cat, startled by the mouse’s sudden appearance, leaps in surprise and tumbles spectacularly out of the window to land safely (as cats do) just outside the mouse’s house—and having unexpectedly switched places, the two neighbors take up their nightly watch again. Tolstikova’s muted palette, neutrals disrupted only by the bright red palace wall, is well-suited to Sobol’s measured prose, which denies readers a satisfying conclusion in favor of allowing them to decide for themselves if cat and mouse are indeed friends.
A quiet, thoughtful narrative for all readers who like to wonder. (Picture book. 3-6)