In Bee’s new series, Stanley the hamster explores jobs.
Stanley the builder builds his mouse friend Myrtle a new house, first using an orange bulldozer to clear the site, then digging the foundation with a yellow digger. Charlie (another mouse, or possibly a rat) helps pour the cement (neither machine name nor color is mentioned—a sorry inconsistency), and the two rodents use teamwork to set and level the bricks. A green crane lifts the roof beams. Shingles, windows and paint complete the house, and supper, a bath and bedtime round out what unrealistically appears to be a single day. In Stanley’s Garage, the tan-and-white hamster owns a garage and spends the day helping his friends—pumping gas, fixing a flat, adding water to an overheated radiator, and towing and fixing a car—his day ending again with supper, a bath and bedtime. Bee’s digital illustrations are the real stars here. Against a white background, thick black lines contain the vibrant colors of the simple shapes and characters, making them pop off the pages and both focusing attention and making it easy for little ones to spot familiar items. Stanley and his fellow rodents are adorable, their dot eyes and line mouths expressing emotion, though without much nuance.
Nonetheless, little listeners are sure to come back to Stanley over and over, as he explores jobs and uses equipment sure to pique their interest. (Picture book. 2-6)