cover image Valentine Mice!

Valentine Mice!

Bethany Roberts. Clarion Books, $13 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-77518-9

decorated cards to woodland pals. Roberts's simple, somewhat choppy text introduces beginning readers to basic words and rhyming sounds as the four mice, bundled up against the cold, make their rounds: ""One to the rabbit, two for the squirrels, three for the chipmunks. Zip! Nip!"" After tossing the remaining Valentines into the air (""Shower valentines! THROW! THROW! THROW!""), three seemingly punchy mice make a sobering discovery: the fourth has disappeared. Cushman's motion-filled, festive watercolors humorously document the rescue of the missing mouse, who has become buried in snow. The artist realizes a welcome balance of the real and the whimsical, giving preschoolers the chance to identify various animal species while enjoying such lighthearted images as a moose with a Valentine tucked into its antlers. A spirited if slight holiday caper. Ages 3-6. (Jan.)