A community of mice uses brainstorming, voting, and graphing to determine how to deal with a cat.
Fifteen mice are living large for the winter until the farmer’s cat leaves them an ominous note. Old Grandfather Mouse recalls a similar situation when they tied something around the cat’s neck, but he can’t remember what. The mice brainstorm solutions and ways to cast votes. Five line up behind a lock—something heavy that will slow the cat—and 10 behind a feather—something light that they can hang easily. They stack chestnuts to vote for a stinky, bright, or noisy thing. Many votes and graphs later, they have their solution, much to the cat’s chagrin. Three unobtrusive text boxes provide further information about graphs, but they are not always written at a child’s level: “A bar graph is drawn with the research objects on one side and numbers on the other side.” The illustrations juxtapose rustic details against the rather jarring looks of the characters. The mice are not cute but angular and toothy, and the cat’s looks are unsettling. Stylized and rough, the graphs are not always easy to read, making this unsuitable as a first introduction. Backmatter includes a note to adults and two spreads of activities allowing kids to practice by filling blank boxes with their answers (there is no answer key).
There are better books about both graphing and belling the cat; skip this combination. (Picture book. 6-10)