cover image MOUSE BY MOUSE: A Counting Adventure

MOUSE BY MOUSE: A Counting Adventure

Julia Noonan, . . Dutton, $16.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46864-6

This mild-mannered, rhyming counting book punctuates its full-bleed spreads with half-page panels. For example, an opening spread introduces a mouse in a yellow dotted dress who sits dwarfed by weeds, "alone and blue." A facing page presents, seemingly, a view of a drooping dandelion; in fact, the dandelion appears on a die-cut panel, which readers turn for a cheery scene of the arrival of the mouse's friend, dangling from the dandelion stem ("That makes two"). Featuring a cast of mice who closely resemble characters found in the work of Kevin Henkes, the book enumerates mouse friends that increase with successive spreads, ending at 10. Noonan (the Puppy and Me books) reinforces the counting concept by referring to each character by the number with which it appears ("Then they party with Mouse Three"), and she emblazons each character's outfit with the respective numeral. The visual story line follows the mice as they discover and enjoy various detritus—a cookie tin, a tea bag, a half-full bottle of pink soda, etc. While the draftsmanship and costuming look very familiar ("Super Seven" even wears a red cape à la Lilly, plus a gold star in the spot of Lilly's gold crown), children will likely enjoy the fun Noonan has with scale. A mouse pokes his head through the cut-out center of a butter cookie, the group pours the soda onto a paper plate to create a shallow pool, and some mice use leaves and sticks to make gondolas and sailboats. A pleasant outing. Ages 3-5. (May)