cover image Ben's Christmas Carol

Ben's Christmas Carol

Toby Forward. Dutton Books, $15.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45593-6

Ebenezer Scrooge has been reincarnated as a rich and stingy mouse named Ben in this homage to Dickens's A Christmas Carol. All the characters of the classic tale are alive--or undead--and well in Forward's (Traveling Backward) parallel rodent world. The poor but kindhearted Tim and even a ghost named Jake cavort beneath floorboards and behind walls, foraging for the true meaning of Christmas. In a delightful twist, many of Brown's (Copycat) expansive paintings simultaneously depict Dickens's Victorian London figures above ground and Forward's furry society below. Her alternating perspectives are dead-on, allowing youngsters to ponder situations from a mouse's-eye view. The naturalistic, expressive creatures and scenes of dank, dingy mouse quarters and wintry city streets invite a closer look at every turn. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)