cover image Two Mice

Two Mice

Sergio Ruzzier. Clarion, $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-30209-9

In a book with the rhythms, if not the precise goals, of a counting book, Ruzzier (A Letter to Leo) follows two white mice into and out of several small predicaments. Like an undulating wave, two-word lines count from one to three, down to one, up to three again, and so on. The opening sequence (“One house/ Two mice/ Three cookies”) introduces a frisson of tension as one mouse frowns at its single cookie while the other (identifiable by brown spots on its back) greedily devours two treats. The tables turn during the next sequence (“Three boats/ Two oars/ One rower”) as the spotted mouse gets stuck piloting their rowboat, and the other relaxes. After “one shipwreck” and a close encounter with “three beaks” belonging to a nestful of baby birds, the mice find their way home for a soup dinner. The small dimensions of the book (not to mention its heroes), the reassuring patterns of Ruzzier’s text, and the surrealist edge common to his artwork create an adventure with a scintillating combination of danger and comfort. Ages 4–7. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)