LET'S DO THAT AGAIN!
Repetition is the source of a child's delight in Oram's (the Princess Chamomile books) heartwarming if familiar tale. Just ask Little Brownmouse, who would like nothing better than a reprise of anything fun but never seems to get one. As she soaks in her teacup bathtub, "Just when Mrs. Brownmouse wasn't expecting it... Little Brownmouse made a big splash and soaked her!" Mrs. Brownmouse responds with a playful splash, which prompts her daughter's favorite request: "Let's do that again!" Mrs. Brownmouse wisely doesn't acquiesce—she always responds with a calm but firm "Hmm, not now, because right now it's time for..." another task on the day's agenda—but she clearly knows how to make a family "to do" list fun. Williams's (Tumble Me Tumbily, Children's Forecasts, Nov. 11) sweet, downy watercolors exude the bottomless affection and unfettered glee shared by mother and daughter. His larger-scale pictures (which he varies with spot illustrations) speak of a safe, idyllic life. In one striking painting, Mrs. Brownmouse gives her daughter a piggyback ride home against a crimson sky, on their way back from a walk in the woods. At book's end, Little Brownmouse proves she is indeed her mother's daughter. When Mr. Brownmouse offers up a cheery "Boo!" and asks "Shall we do that again?" she replies, "Oh, no! Not now!" And with good reason—a closing portrait shows the trio sharing "a great, big good-night hug!" Ages 2-6. (Feb.)