cover image The Walk of the Field Mouse

The Walk of the Field Mouse

Nadine Robert, illus. by Valerio Vidali. Milky Way, $20.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-990252-32-7

At the opening of this thoughtful work from the collaborators behind The Shadow Elephant, a starling, a toad, and a snail gather around a robin’s egg that has fallen down the face of a large, jagged rock. Cool, crisp digital illustrations by Vidali give the figures a sculptural look. A field mouse soon volunteers to push the egg back up to its nest on top of the rock. “You?” the starling says in disbelief. But the mouse is already slowly heaving the egg up the face, focusing on “one step, then the next, then the next.” It’s night by the time the mouse positions the egg back into its nest, alongside a glimmering view of “the wide open sky.” The wind blows the unsteady egg again to the rock’s bottom, where the three creatures again jeer. But the mouse is undeterred, and though the story ends here, it’s clear that the egg will end safely in its nest. An epigraph quoting Camus (“One must imagine Sisyphus happy”) helps position the story, which champions persistence, even in the face of scorn, and highlights the quiet pride that can be part of doing something difficult. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)