Builder Mouse

Sofia Eldarova. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-35766-2
Born in Russia and based in London, Eldarova makes her U.S. children's book debut with the story of a mouse named Edgar, who dreams of becoming an architect. Food scraps—the mouse version of reclaimed lumber—are Edgar's primary building material, and therein lies the problem: his hungry friend Toby is forever eating his handiwork, such as when Edgar creates an arch from a watermelon slice and a few pretzels ("Toby loved the curve and thought the combination of salty and sweet was yummy"). Fed up, Edgar moves out, hoping to find more appreciate audiences in the subways, restaurants, and museums of the city, but there, too, the mice simply devour his creations. After seeing Edgar's candy mural in a museum, a group of "arty" mice "all agreed that it needed to be digested to be fully understood." Using a mix of pencil, paint, and pastel, Eldarova contrasts chic urban settings with lumpy, caricatured humans and mice. An ending that sees Edgar returning home to his best friend—and switching to a less edible building material—is no less charming for its predictability. Ages 4–7. Agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 02/02/2016
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-544-35843-0
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