In this superb companion tale to Cecil’s Lucy (2016), the worlds of a moviegoing girl, an audacious mouse, and a crafty cat mingle and clash in Bloomville.
It’s a Saturday afternoon. Drawn by the scent of popcorn, Iris Espinosa heads to the cinema, passing by a big cat “with six toes on each paw” and a stoop kid on her walk. Taking her place in “her usual seat” in the front row, the young girl sits enthralled by Robin Hood when a mouse with a popcorn-stuffed stomach approaches the adjacent seat. The mouse snuggles up to Iris—burrowing into Iris’ pocket—and ends up going home with her; she dubs the mouse Douglas in honor of her favorite actor. (Iris does not know that Douglas is, like her, female.) Now Douglas must brave the long journey—relatively speaking—back home to the cinema while eluding the hungry, terrible Six-Toed Cat, a master of patience “after so many years” of mouse-hunting experience. Similar to its beguiling predecessor, this adventure comes together in four acts full of quiet cliffhangers and thrilling mouse heroics. Cecil’s playful language and shifting third-person narration create contexts within contexts; each numbered chapter assumes the viewpoint of a character, major or minor, in ways readers might need rereads to fully appreciate. The artist’s duotone-spun, vintage artwork recalls the quaint splendors of yesteryear, peppered with minor visual gags and worldbuilding details. Primary human characters present white.
A splendiferous wowzer. (Picture book. 5-8)