In an interesting take on “The City Mouse and the Country Mouse,” Swede Thore tells the tale of one scribbly spot that vacates its host, a spotted and sedentary feline, for an adventure.
When Sammy wakes up with flu symptoms, she realizes that something is askew. One of her 500 spots is missing. She feels miserable, the kind of misery that can only be rectified by a cup of hot cocoa. Thore’s text in the uncredited translation is wryly funny, deftly unreeling the plot and defining its characters. Sammy chases it, but “that rebel spot was way too fast,” but then she realizes, “if that spot’s unhappy, why pursue it?” Each double-page spread bursts with details that will captivate young readers. Sammy’s knotted tail reflects how lifeless she feels while suffering from the flu. The tub’s claw feet look just like Sammy’s. Is that the missing spot hiding behind the toilet’s pedestal? Hearts appear on the curtains on the closing pages, as the two protagonists reunite. A midbook gatefold opens from a view of Sammy contentedly at home to show the adventures of the spot in 12 humorous panels—the spot finds itself on a dog, in a scoop of ice cream, winning a game of marbles, and even nestled up next to an éclair. Both spot and Sammy learn new things about themselves while the spot is AWOL and find out that, in the end, there really is no place like home.
Sometimes the best part of travel is telling the tale afterward. (Picture book. 3-7)