Little Mouse's Big Secret

Éric Battut, Sterling, $12.95 (28p) ISBN 978-1-4027-7462-1
The urge to hoard treats is a common one, and Battut's (The Fox and the Hen) brisk, spare treatment of the problem has the feel of a classic. The layout attracts attention immediately: text runs along the bottom of the left-hand page, while the action takes place at the foot of the right, with a wealth of empty space above. "Oh, what a delicious treat!" says diminutive Mouse, upon discovering an apple. He decides to bury it to keep other animals from seeing his treasure and wanting to share it. On each page, an animal appears and asks, "What are you hiding?" to which he replies, "It's my secret, and I'll never tell." Behind him—unbeknownst to him—his apple is growing into a tree, sprouting, filling the empty page with branches and leaves. It blooms, fruits, then drops its apples just after Mouse has declared, "I will keep my secret forever." Elemental text and artwork effectively convey the lesson about Mouse's best-laid plans, while his obliviousness to the tree's growth provides suspense and satisfaction. Ages 2–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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