cover image The Porcupine Mouse

The Porcupine Mouse

Bonnie Pryor. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07153-0

Two mouse brothers, Louie and Dan, leave their over-crowded house in search of a home of their own. Their first challenge comes at nightfall, when they begin to see shadows swooping towards them. Dan runs to a maple tree and falls through a hidden door that leads to an abandoned house they soon claim as their own. One night, Dan finds himself outside the house, only a paw's reach from a huge black cat. But brave Louie outwits the menacing feline by convincing him that Dan is really a porcupinea terrible meal that would certainly upset his digestion. The plot is uncomplicated and slight, but Begin's pictures make up for the shortcomings. The snug miniature world of the mice is created as much by an illusionist as by a skillful artist; the disparity in size between cat and mouse when they encounter each other in the dark generates real dramatic surprise. And that scene provides a shadowy contrast to the blissfully cheerful interior shots. Ages 4-7. (March)