In this book, McBratney (Guess How Much I Love You, 1995, not reviewed, etc.) has crystallized every single detail into part of a winning formula. There is little story: Three mice--Cob, Hazel, and Berry-Berry--tell an older, wiser mouse that they would like to go see the monster at the top of the cellar stair. He is understanding and allows them to recover from their journey, during which they were terrified by the sight of the cat's shadow, without comment. The narrative is comic and catchy, with all the dialogue arranged with flawless symmetry. It is set against dramatic crayon pencil illustrations, in which everything is depicted from the perspective of the mice (a door looms like a skyscraper). In his first book, Bates chooses a palette of dark purples, browns, and ambers; the mice seem sculpted from the gloom of the cellar.