There’s something scary out there, disturbing Lewis Mouse in his cozy home.
Lewis lives in a tiny hole at the bottom of a large tree. He has made it warm and comfortable, but he senses that something is missing. When he hears “SCRITCH SCRATCH TAP TAP TAP,” he imagines threats from a great horned owl, a sneaky cat or a big bear, and he puts forth his bravest, loudest voice, shouting, “Who goes there?” Though leading to expectations of a scary ending in the manner of the various incarnations of the “Tailypo” folk tale, the story takes a different, more comforting turn. Lewis finds that Joy, another mouse, has been making those sounds while preparing her home for the winter. She, in turn, was frightened by his loud bellows. So, it is all a case of mistaken identity, and the two mice find companionship for the long winter ahead—and Lewis realizes that the missing “something” was a friend. Wilson makes good use of sound effects and repetition to build suspense and depicts Lewis as no scaredy-mouse, as he bravely faces his fears. Little readers will be reassured by the warm, fuzzy conclusion. Currey’s pen, ink and watercolor illustrations nicely contrast the dark night with the cozy interiors and are a bit Beatrix Potter–esque in their depictions of Lewis.
The start of a beautiful friendship. Lovely. (Picture book. 4-8)