cover image The Mousery

The Mousery

Charlotte Pomerantz. Harcourt Children's Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202304-1

Two grouchy mice named Sliver and Slice chase away neighbors and strangers alike from their ""mousery"" (the trunk of an abandoned car). But during a brutal winter storm they relent long enough to admit four tiny ""mousekins."" The mousekins immediately transform the mousery by their exuberant presence, causing Sliver and Slice to rethink their isolationist policy. Pomerantz's (Mangaboom) uneven story line switches from Sliver and Slice's viewpoint to that of the mousekins and back, and it is unclear what exactly motivates the change in the older mice: the mousekins' obvious need, their excellent behavior or the memories they evoke. With the exception of a lullaby crooned by one of the mousekins (and which Sliver and Slice remember their grandmother singing), the rhymes grow tiresome: ""In the morning they woke./ It was Sliver who spoke,/ `Slice, do you think we've been wrong;/ They don't fidget or fuss,/ and they've been good to us./ I declare they do seem to belong.'"" Cyrus's (Tangle Town) inventive illustrations detail the transformation of the dingy abode, plastered with crumbling old newspapers, into a cheerful, airy home with bright, comic-strip wallpaper. His depictions of the mice are imaginative, and his beautiful geometric snowflakes give the story an arresting focal point. But the rehabilitation of Sliver and Slice makes for a syrupy ending--they are more fun at the beginning. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)