cover image Pea Patch Jig

Pea Patch Jig

Thacher Hurd, Edith Thacher Hurd. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $11.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-56307-6

Though the baby mouse in Hurd's latest frolic is still in diapers, she already has a mind of her own. She sets off through the garden where she lives with her parents, promptly falling asleep in a head of lettuce. When Farmer Clem plucks that head for his lunch salad, Mother and Father Mouse have to act fast to save Baby from being tossed with the rest of the greens. Then Mother decides that Baby needs a bath; Baby has other ideas, and deserts the tub for the tomato patch. She kicks first one tomato, and then another, and one lands on Grandfather Mouse's head; then he needs a bath. That night, Mother and Father's guests don vegetable costumes and dance the Pea Patch Jig. Baby Mouse, who is supposed to be in bed, first saves everyone by scaring a lurking fox with her peashooter, then dresses up as a bright green pea and joins them. Hurd's fluid paintings make Farmer Clem's garden a cheerful camouflage for the Mouse family and their willful Baby; his kaleidoscopic colors and mischievous sense of humor make this book ripe for the picking. (3-7)