cover image Horace and Morris Say Cheese (Which Makes Dolores Sneeze!)

Horace and Morris Say Cheese (Which Makes Dolores Sneeze!)

James Howe, , illus. by Amy Walrod. . S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83940-5

Food allergies get an understanding appraisal in Howe and Walrod's third picture book starring Horace, Morris and Dolores. The three school-age mice naturally adore cheese: “They ate string cheese and Swiss cheese on Sundays. They ate Muenster with mustard on Mondays.” These rituals end when Dolores breaks out in itchy blue spots and starts sneezing. Dr. Ricotta performs a series of tests—accurately pictured in a comic-strip array of shots, urinalysis and eye/ear checks—and pronounces Dolores allergic to cheese. Dolores and her mother look aghast. The Everything Cheese Festival is nigh, and Dolores can't get cheese off her mind. With Dolores's exclusion from cheesy activities, Howe and Walrod indicate how food taboos influence not just children's diets but their social lives: alone, Dolores binges on cheesecake, only to regret it when she sees her blotchy face in a bathroom mirror. Wordless images and word-balloon dialogues show Dolores's struggle and her realization that she can concoct tasty cheese-free recipes to share (or sell) at the cheese fest. In addressing this timely topic, Howe and Walrod encourage the no-gluten and nut-free crowd to seek opportunity in a common setback. Ages 4–8. (July)