For a New York City mouse, hazards abound—but also delicious discoveries.
Garland knocks the rougher edges off an incident featuring an ambitious rat and a whole slice of pizza that was caught in a viral 2015 video clip. Sporting a tough-guy chip on his diminutive shoulder (“I am a mouse. So what?”), this nonetheless cute, fuzzy forager has four legs but anthropomorphically scurries around on two. He pithily tallies his many foes as he roots through piles of garbage, snatches a roll from a table of elegant diners, takes shelter from a swooping hawk in a used pizza box, and finally drags the cheesy treasure he finds therein down subway steps and through a crowd of oblivious commuters to present it to a squad of nestlings. “Daddy!” they exclaim. Along with downsizing his protagonist and giving him a family to feed, Garland does such an awful job of depicting urban grime that even the worst food waste looks not just yummy, but artistically displayed. Still, though the setting may be caricatured, the thoroughly diverse human cast, even its Asian members, is not, and he offers an affectionate ankle-level view of the city’s general hurly-burly.
The mean streets may have never looked so clean, but it still takes pluck and courage to survive them. (Picture book. 5-8)