cover image Pip & Squeak

Pip & Squeak

Ian Schoenherr, . . HarperCollins/ Greenwillow, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-087253-3

A pun on pipsqueak and unusual visual landscapes punctuate Schoenherr's (Sleepyhead Bear ) tale of the two title mice en route to a birthday party. The text is minimal. "Step on it, Pip!" says Squeak, as they ride a sled fashioned from a letter. "Lickety-split!" Squeak urges as they walk a clothesline like aerial stars in a circus. When Pip forgets their present of a beautifully wrapped piece of cheese (pictured on the opening spread), Squeak scorns the replacement presents Pip finds along the way. While some of the details in Schoenherr's full-bleed eye-catching ink and acrylic paintings may require information beyond the ken of many youngsters, adults will get a kick out of them. As the text announces "But then Squeak squinted at Pip," for instance, the two mice leap through a hoop held by a jockey lawn ornament. While visually arresting, the various lawn decorations the mice encounter—including pink flamingoes and a sleeping garden gnome—seem to appear as if by magic from the snow, and may require some explanation for youngest readers. From afar, the mice eventually mistake a snowman's orange carrot nose for cheese; they bring it along even though they fear their new present will not be welcome. But the birthday boy (a rabbit) thinks their carrot gift is "perfect." The punchline will be appreciated by readers of all ages. Ages 2-5. (Feb.)