When the titular tall man and small mouse finally discover they’ve been sharing a house, they quickly become collaborators.
The book begins with the pleasant sound of a nursery rhyme: “On a tall hill / in a tall house / lived a tall man / and a small mouse.” Here and throughout, the text is large, easily seen against pale backgrounds. Whimsical, lightly lined drawings with watercolor washes keep the mood light and comforting. The tall man—who is white and also comically thin—does “tall things / that needed doing,” such as picking apples and rescuing cats and kites from trees. The small mouse, who creeps around the house while the man sleeps, wears a dress and a hooded cape from which large, white ears protrude. She excels at getting into tiny spaces and moving small items, restoring lost bits and pieces to the man. The minor crisis of the book occurs when, after a long day of effort, the tall man cannot figure out how to fix the town’s tower clock. (There is no evidence of anyone else worrying whether the clock works, but it’s obviously important to the tall man.) A funny sequence of vignettes as he gets dressed the next morning concludes with him almost stepping on the mouse, who had been sleeping in his tall, old-fashioned shoe. Gentle rhymes and rhythm combine with equally gentle art as the two characters become a working team and then friends.
Sweet fun for storytime and bedtime. (Picture book. 3-6)