cover image Samantha


Ellen Stoll Walsh. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-252264-3

Feisty mice akin to the heroes of Mouse Paint and Mouse Count trip and tumble across the festive cut-paper collages in this beguiling book. After Samantha, the tiniest and most timid of the brood, wishes aloud for a fairy godmother to protect her from her siblings (""Oh, how they could tease""), a winged, pastel-colored mouse appears. While the others romp happily, Samantha's guardian keeps her ""quietly out of the way"" and shields her from the rain and snow. Realizing that that she is missing out on all the fun, the wee mouse decides to take her chances playing with the others, and she rather rudely dismisses her protector, who, luckily, does not wander too far away. This vivacious tale gives a reassuring nudge to kids who could stand to be more self-reliant, yet even the boldest young readers will warm up to Walsh's rambunctious rodent capers. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)