Mother Bruce wants to escape the size—and chaos—of his family.
This crotchety, black-and–dark-indigo bear now fully accepts that the four goslings he accidentally adopted (Mother Bruce, 2015) are his forever children and that, although they’re grown now, they’re not leaving home. They even sleep on top of him. He can’t accept, however, the presence of three mice who once commandeered his house for a hotel (Hotel Bruce, 2016). They’re adults (one has a mustache), but they sleep atop Bruce with the geese; they soak in Bruce’s teacup; they rope the geese into messy games (literally, during one cowboy lasso scene). Direct marching orders fail. Poor, misanthropic Bruce! Higgins conveys sympathy for Bruce (who is both male and a mother, no explanation particularly needed), beset by noise and chaos, without censuring the mice too harshly. Bruce’s idea to move house and leave the mice behind is a failure, naturally. Readers can sympathize with grumpy Bruce while also cheering for the geese, nonverbal but expressive, when their beloved mice siblings return. The illustrations feature deft, fine-lined details and luminous, softly-textured backgrounds. The full-bleed spreads are hilarious, especially one showing everyone in a bubble bath, Bruce scowling, suds overflowing, the geese and mice sporting snorkels and masks.
A funny, delightful argument both for and against a hermitic life. (Picture book. 3-6)