cover image The Mouse Who Owned the Sun

The Mouse Who Owned the Sun

Sally Derby. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-766965-7

First-time author Derby introduces a mouse who, knowing nothing of the world around him, is self-assured enough to think the sun rises and sets at his command. When the mouse is presented at the king's court, he opts to sell his prized solar orb to the king in exchange for a map of the forest in which he lives. Derby's dialogue is swift and sure, but her emphasis is a bit unclear. Is this a misadventure that gently scoffs at its naively self-important protagonist? Or is it the chronicle of a hero who discovers the scope of the world and his place in it? A thin ending leaves the direction unresolved. Henstra's ( The Tsar & the Amazing Cow ) angular ink-and-watercolor illustrations in muted blues and reds wittily portray the jaunty mouse and his companions, from forest insects with amiable, humanlike faces to the enormous, bewigged king decked out in 18th-century finery. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)