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THIS & THAT by Mem Fox


by Mem Fox ; illustrated by Judy Horacek

Pub Date: Jan. 31st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-338-03780-7
Publisher: Scholastic

An adult mouse spins tales to lull a young mouse to sleep.

Bedtime often begs for creativity in parents if they are called upon for a story. The child ends up hearing an inventive mix of a little of this and a little of that. Fox whirls that colloquialism into a gentle rhyme, beginning with the soothing refrain: “I’ll tell you a story of this, / and I’ll tell you a story of that.” Each scenario that follows is a tantalizing possibility: “I’ll tell you a story / of cavernous caves / and a chimp / with a magic hat.” Here Horacek transforms the tiny mouse’s bed, a green box, into a boat, taking both parent and child on an adventure past said silly monkeys. Then, mouse and pup scamper to a new setting, while the narrator again intones, “I’ll tell you a story of this, / and I’ll tell you a story of that.” As the conceit spins itself out, Horacek’s boldly outlined critter duo find themselves in a bustling, multicultural market—meeting a pair of tangled giraffes that are trying to sit on a mat—and then a castle filled with royalty of all races (where, of course, kings and queens liked to chat). The repetition of “that” and the many words that rhyme with it creates a rhythm that encourages participation and can also be used by the adult to dial down a child’s energy at the end of the day.

A master of the bedtime hush, Fox shines.

(Picture book. 2-5)