MICE AND BEANS by Pam Muñoz Ryan

MICE AND BEANS

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kindheartedness lies at the core of this story, even if the main character wishes to banish all mice—via a battery of snapping traps—from her hearth and home. Rosa Maria might live in a tiny house, but she wants to celebrate the birthday of her grandchild Little Catalina with a party and lots of food. “When there’s room in the heart, there’s room in the house, except for a mouse!” So she sets a trap to make sure none of her preparations are snacked upon by the resident mice. Strangely, each evening as she goes to check on the traps after fixing up a batch of enchiladas or frijoles (Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the text), the traps are gone. She blames her own forgetfulness and sets another. Comes Catalina’s big day and Rosa Maria suddenly remembers that she has forgotten to stuff the piñata with candy. But it’s too late—the children are already whacking away. When scads of candy cascade from the piñata as it bursts, Rosa Maria figures she has simply forgotten that she filled it. Yet when she is cleaning up after the party, she discovers evidence of mice—“RATONES!”—and said evidence also points to the mice having stuffed the piñata for Rosa Maria. So she changes her tune: “When there’s room in the heart, there’s room in the house, even for a mouse.” In artwork as sumptuously rich as Catalina’s birthday cake, Cepeda’s (Daring Dog and Captain Cat, above, etc.) color-drenched scenes stuffed with detail make Rosa Maria’s world a pleasure-giving place. And now that the mice are welcome—these mice, after all, pull their own weight—it might be the most beneficent home ever. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-18303-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2001




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