GOODBYE MOUSIE

Not since The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (1971) has there been such an affecting and satisfying story about the death of...

A little boy’s pet mouse dies, and he and his family cope, in this gently done true-life tale by a team that has such an elegant grasp of the workings of the minds and hearts of children.

A little boy fiercely denies that his pet mouse is dead, despite his father’s remonstrations, and then he gets mad at Mousie, and finally sad. The boy and his parents put Mousie in a box with some of his favorite things—carrots, a piece of jam toast, and a toy or two—and make a headstone for him out of driftwood. Readers can hear the boy working things out for himself, that Mousie won’t ever come back, that grief and longing are what he feels. And in the last frame, where he plays with Mousie’s wheel and a toy mouse while wearing his mouse slippers, he thinks about getting another mouse—“But not just yet.” Ormerod makes her images from a close-up, child-high perspective, with a fresh, clean palette: her headshot of the child bawling wildly at the realization of the truth of Mousie’s demise is touching and tender, as is the gentle comfort of his father.

Not since The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (1971) has there been such an affecting and satisfying story about the death of a pet. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 978-0-689-87134-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

OTIS

From the Otis series

Continuing to find inspiration in the work of Virginia Lee Burton, Munro Leaf and other illustrators of the past, Long (The Little Engine That Could, 2005) offers an aw-shucks friendship tale that features a small but hardworking tractor (“putt puff puttedy chuff”) with a Little Toot–style face and a big-eared young descendant of Ferdinand the bull who gets stuck in deep, gooey mud. After the big new yellow tractor, crowds of overalls-clad locals and a red fire engine all fail to pull her out, the little tractor (who had been left behind the barn to rust after the arrival of the new tractor) comes putt-puff-puttedy-chuff-ing down the hill to entice his terrified bovine buddy successfully back to dry ground. Short on internal logic but long on creamy scenes of calf and tractor either gamboling energetically with a gaggle of McCloskey-like geese through neutral-toned fields or resting peacefully in the shade of a gnarled tree (apple, not cork), the episode will certainly draw nostalgic adults. Considering the author’s track record and influences, it may find a welcome from younger audiences too. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25248-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

SLUG IN LOVE

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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