cover image Itsy-Bitsy Baby Mouse

Itsy-Bitsy Baby Mouse

Michelle Meadows, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-3786-9

The protagonist of the title is a tiny house mouse with a free spirit. Opening scenes show him “Whirling, twirling/ round the house,” chasing a fly, and climbing a dinner table to enjoy some pie. But when he loses track of where he is, he panics—“WHERE AM I?” Cordell’s (Leap Back Home to Me) watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations take in the action from a variety of intriguing perspectives that ground readers by showing bits of rug, tile, or floor for context. Meadows’s (Traffic Pups) simple, rhyming text shifts a bit awkwardly between third- and first-person as the mouse meets a ladybug, climbs up a cat thinking it’s a pillow, and eventually finds his way home by remembering visual clues (tree, key, red door). The ending is fuzzy—the cat appears to grab the mouse’s tail, leading to another freakout (“Have mercy, cat./ Please let me go!”), but then the mouse is roused by his parents, the second encounter with the cat apparently entirely in the small mouse’s head. Nonetheless, it’s an energetic domestic adventure. Ages 3–7. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Mar.)