Mouse’s roomy new home becomes anything but as he discovers that it already has several outsized residents.
The story works better than the illustrations. To Mouse, the creaky, cobwebby old house is “just right!”—even though, as he finds out, a massive bear lives on the first floor, a glowering tiger upstairs, and a gigantic crocodile in the bathtub: “There’s plenty of room, Mr. Snippy-Snap!” Then a mole’s arrival from beneath causes the floor to collapse…and suddenly there really is plenty of room. Chapman leaves all the animals dancing on a broad surprise foldout at the end, but in prior scenes she never really allows them to fill up the available space. Even when gathered together to drink tea around a tiny table in views that she constricts with timber frames and raised floors, the figures inexplicably crowd one another in the middle while leaving head and elbow room aplenty around the edges. Young audiences will enjoy seeing the way tiny Mouse fearlessly cows his hulking housemates, but the visual overcrowding that would amplify the joke—as it does in Lita Judge’s Red Sled (2011), for instance, or several versions of “The Mitten”—is absent.
Promising-enough storytime fare despite the unconvincing illustrations. (Picture book. 6-8)