Bastin employs a collection of anthropomorphized animals as characters for this holiday story interspersed with simple craft and decorating ideas.
In this offering, first published in the Netherlands, Vera the country mouse prepares for Christmas with the help of her friend, Fritzy the mole, as well as her doll (a tiny, living creature) and her dog. Together they decorate Vera’s cottage in anticipation of the arrival of her cousin from the city, Bianca. The text follows the characters as they make apples with cut-out star decorations, marzipan snowballs, salt-dough ornaments and Christmas party crackers. Instructions and easy recipes are included, along with appropriate safety warnings tucked into the art. Bastin’s detailed watercolor illustrations of the mice in holiday costumes have a certain nostalgic appeal, but the slight story is merely a framing device for the similarly slight crafts and recipes. Christmas with the Mousekins (2010) uses a comparable structure of story and activities but with many more crafts and recipes.
Bastin’s greeting cards are popular worldwide, so her adult fans may enjoy incorporating Vera and friends into their holiday reading and decorating, but children may find this book leads to a long winter’s nap. (Picture book. 4-7)