Mouse, Look Out!: A Slide and Peek Book

Judy Waite, Author, Norma Burgin, Illustrator Dutton Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-42031-6
Readers follow a mouse fleeing a stalking cat through an abandoned house in this British team's taut tale. Full-bleed spreads convey Burgin's playfully eerie scenes, first from outside the house, a partly collapsed, overgrown structure darkening with the sunset and surrounded by a spiked fence with a foreboding sign (""Danger Keep Out""). Waite's text strikes just the right chord between haunting and humorous: ""And tucked among the cracks of the ivy-covered wall, a little mouse was peeping,"" it begins. As the shadow of a black cat approaches, a gray-brown mouse digs its way frantically into the crevices of the house; each time the cat is about to pounce, his prey dashes just of reach, scuttling inside an abandoned shoe or taking cover between the bristles of a straw broom, as the refrain exclaims in capital letters: ""Mouse, look out! There's a cat about!"" Burgin never lets the stalking get too scary, skillfully balancing cobwebs and swirling dead leaves with plenty of light and familiar domestic objects, such as a beribboned straw hat and dusty teddy bear. The tension shows in the gripping of the mouse's claws as it peers at its own reflection in a copper kettle and in the ominous eyes of an owl that reappear in the shadows of each spread. The layers of one watching the other, reader, owl and cat, heighten the suspense, and the surprise ending, as the animals leap through the grass bathed in light, delivers a sigh of relief. Ages 5-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Hardcover - 978-7-5342-6794-9
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