cover image Three Kind Mice

Three Kind Mice

Vivian Sathre. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201266-3

Only the title of Sathre's (Mouse Chase) effervescent picture book nods at the somewhat forbidding nursery rhyme; the substance is all sweetness and light as a trio of happy-go-lucky mice bake a birthday cake for a surprise guest (the cat). Their efforts are presided over by an aptly named bag of flour (""Sunshine"" brand), whose benevolent solar trademark changes expression from page to page, as sharp-eyed readers will detect. The tiny bakers engage in a series of toddler-friendly antics, falling into a bowl of batter, skating on the frosting and napping in a heap, exhausted by their efforts. Wilson sets his brisk colored-pencil illustrations against an uncluttered white backdrop that radiates freshness and good cheer. He capitalizes on the surprise role of the cat, too, by injecting a note of suspense: the cat is seen on each text page, slumbering, waking up or, perhaps, preparing to pounce. What with the cast of plump little mice and their unsuspecting feline friend, this is a scrumptious choice for the preschool set. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)