cover image Sophie and Lou

Sophie and Lou

Petra Mathers. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024071-4

Sophie the mouse is so shy that even going to the supermarket makes her heart beat faster. As she sits in her dust-free home watching the light filter through the glass curtains, she is oblivious to an admirer looking in. (Indeed, this smitten swain's frequent presence is one of the book's many endearing elements.) When the new neighbors across the street open a dance studio, their banner commanding ``Kick Up Your Heels'' begins to have an effect on the reticent rodent. She procures a book on learning to dance, and practices every evening by herself. She buys a pair of pretty shoes--``I'm a dancer,'' she blushingly explains to the salesgirl. One evening, the doorbell rings: it is her admirer from afar, and a newly soignee Sophie accepts his invitation to dance. Starring an expressive animal cast, this gently paced story is sweetly inspirational. Mathers's ( The Block Book ; Maria Theresa ) clearly delineated illustrations glow with an appealing luminescence. Sophie's triumph over her bashful nature is proof that small actions, quietly pursued, can lead to big things. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)