cover image Upstairs Mouse, Downstairs Mole

Upstairs Mouse, Downstairs Mole

Wong Herbert Yee, Author . Houghton $15 (48p) ISBN 978-0-618-4

Yee's (Fireman Small ) comfy beginning reader (dedicated to "Friends of Frog and Toad") focuses on Mouse and Mole and packs in plenty of sweetness and civility. All four stories show the pair learning how friends must accommodate each other's limitations and desires. Each turn of the page contains as many as four pen, watercolor and colored pencil spot illustrations that cheerfully animate the simply plotted tales. When downstairs Mole has to sweep his house twice because upstairs Mouse has a hole in her floor, they agree to sweep each others' houses together to save "half the time." When they take turns inviting each other over for dinner, Mouse bumps into things in Mole's damp, dark house, while Mole, blinded by the bright sunshine, is also knocked off his chair by the odor of Limburger cheese. The characters speak with a kind of charming Victorian formality. When Mole presents Mouse with a present (a candle for her next visit to Mole's), Mole says, "This is for you.... I hope you don't think me a thoughtless neighbor." The tone of their speech fits both the gentle characters and the leisurely pace of their affable stories. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)