cover image Mouse Paint

Mouse Paint

Ellen Stoll Walsh. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-256025-6

Three white mice get into some primary hued paint pots, and emerge as artful members of a lesson on color and camouflage. When they are white mice, on white paper, the cat can't see them. Then they spy three jars of paint, one red, one yellow and one blue. ``They thought it was Mouse Paint. They climbed right in.'' Thus begins a flirtation with paints (mixing colors, making new shades, dancing in swirled puddles) that provides them with nearly all the colors in the spectrum, and when the paint dries, they bathe in the cat's water bowl until they are white again. Simplicity reigns in Walsh's brief tale, and a feeling of joyful discovery pervades her broad lines and expressive figures. Her message is clear, one which readers will respond to: paints have many purposes, at least one of which is fun. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)