cover image The Mouse Bride

The Mouse Bride

Judith Dupre. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $8.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-679-83273-7

Two mice, marveling at the perfection of their daughter, set out to find her an equally ideal mate in this pleasingly symmetrical folktale, a Mayan version to add to the spate of recent retellings from a range of cultures. ``Who is the most powerful in the universe?'' the parents ask the Moon, and thus begins a series of referrals. The Moon recommends the Sun, who ``chases me from the sky''; but the Sun cedes the title of most powerful to the Cloud, who ``blocks my light.'' The final suitor to be enlisted is, of course, a mouse (``Though I am very tall and stretch as far as you can see, '' a Wall tells the mice, ``I crumble when a mouse burrows through me''). Vanden Broeck's illustrations effectively contrast the soft shapes of the forest floor with the pre-Columbian-style representations of the Moon, Sun and other prospective bridegrooms. His blue and green palette suggests the rainforest inhabited by the Chol Indians, who retell this tale, according to an endnote, in order to help their children ``make peace with the harsh sun and torrential rains of their home.'' Ages 4-8. (Sept.)