In 17 episodes, two winsome, knitted mice—best friends Sam and Julia—explore the thriving, multistory apartment community where they both live.
Dutch artist Schaapman’s extraordinary construction, 6 feet wide and towering nearly 10 feet tall, plays the deservedly starring role here, as photographed by Ton Bouwer. The two mice's everyday adventures take them to the recycling room, where they help the Ragman during his weekly pickup, and the bakery, where their dime buys a bagful of delicious if broken cookies. They help with Sam’s new triplet siblings as well as the laundry (working together to neatly quell the foamy chaos that results when Julia uses too much soap). Julia lives with her mom; their small apartment’s rough basics contrast with Sam’s extended family’s comfortable digs. Julia’s weeklong bout with chicken pox (the spots are, rather charmingly, embroidered on) illuminates her mother’s loving care. A later visit to Sam’s aunt’s family for dinner on the Jewish Sabbath further expands Julia’s cultural understanding. In turn, Julia’s venturesome nature, steadfast friendship and predilection for “big adventures” help Sam to overcome his shyness and fears. Schaapman’s ingenious miniature interiors are certain to captivate all ages. From tiny wooden toys and well-scaled textiles to Sam’s grandpa’s faded sailor tattoos, the thoroughgoing attention to detail consistently fascinates.
A community in miniature, fully realized and elucidated by sensitive storytelling. (Picture book. 4-8)