Little Mouse's Painting

Diane Wolkstein, Author, Maryjane Begin, Illustrator
Diane Wolkstein, Author, Maryjane Begin, Illustrator HarperCollins Publishers $16 (1p) ISBN 978-0-688-07609-2
Hardcover - 978-0-688-07610-8
Prebound-Other - 32 pages - 978-0-606-24337-7
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-58717-125-3
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Wolkstein fans will be disappointed in this spindly outing. Little Mouse, accustomed to spending all of her time with Bear, Squirrel and Porcupine, decides to strike out on her own one day and take up painting. As each of her friends wander by and admire her work, they see themselves on the canvas, although Little Mouse indignantly insists that she has painted a landscape. Back home, she is surprised to find that from a distance some of the objects in her painting do resemble her friends. If this story is meant to serve as a lesson in perspective, it's a flimsy one. Even as a simple tale of friendship, the prose is slight to the point of being innocuous and certainly not worthy of a storyteller of Wolkstein's ( Oom Razoom ; The Banza ) considerable talent. Begin's color-saturated acrylics are masterfully executed: her lovingly detailed animal cast bristles with realism and the play of light and shadow is superb. The art veers toward the precious, however, and fails to infuse the story with gusto. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)
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