cover image Mouse & Mole and the Year-Round Garden

Mouse & Mole and the Year-Round Garden

Doug Cushman. W.H. Freeman & Company, $13.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-7167-6524-0

In this combination story and nature lesson, Cushman ( The ABC Mystery ) introduces two animal pals who diligently plant seeds and ``baby plants'' in early spring. Their labor produces a bountiful crop of summer vegetables, which they harvest in the fall and feast on during the winter. Finally, when the new seed catalogue arrives, Mouse and Mole look forward to planning next year's garden. As Cushman's playful pictures and crisp text usher these two amiable characters through the seasons, panels at the bottom of each page succinctly explain a wide variety of natural processes--photosynthesis, how soil is made, how rainbows take shape, how fireflies light up, why leaves change colors, etc. Though many of the panels neatly distill intricate concepts, a few are far less informative and appear to be filler material. This lack of balance, combined with Mouse and Mole's awkward jumping from one setting to the next, upsets the presentation of both fact and fiction. Nonetheless, Cushman's answers amply resolve a host of questions about nature--and will undoubtedly spark others in the minds of inquiring youngsters. Ages 4-8. Children's BOMC main selection. (Mar.)