Three cheese-loving mouse friends find themselves face-to-face with a hungry cat in Bartlett’s (Never Was a Grump Grumpier, 2014, etc.) cheerful children’s book.
Footloose, Fancy, and Free are three mouse pals, and like many rodents, they love to eat cheese. In fact, it’s their favorite activity in the whole world, so it’s no surprise that after the trio sneaks into Jim’s world-famous cheese emporium via a keyhole, a mousehole, and the front door, they eat themselves silly. But there’s a problem: Footloose, Fancy, and Free eat so much that they can no longer get out of the shop. Their rotund, cheese-stuffed bodies simply can’t fit through the exits. Things get more harrowing when Gourmet, a cat, comes around, because her favorite thing, like many cats, is to chew up delicious mice. What will the three friends do to escape? The answer involves a mousetrap, a pair of reading glasses, and the concept of having too much of a good thing. All readers, even lactose-intolerant ones, will be able to relate to the lesson of the mice’s story: when you can have as much as you want, it’s hard to control yourself, and there are always consequences. The book is suspenseful (the mice are in peril, after all) without being too scary; it will work well for both younger and older children as well as for adults who may be turning the pages. Bartlett’s illustrations are also fantastic; they make the book come alive with energy and add a lot to the accompanying text. The charming, thought-out design and layout, with words scattered about the pages, make it clear that Bartlett is a skilled comic writer, as does the punch line at the end. The book’s sturdy construction will also come in handy for many evenings of page-turning bedtime stories.
A fine children’s book about mice who get in a bit of wonderful trouble.