cover image And Nick

And Nick

Emily Gore, illus. by Leonid Gore. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5506-1

Leonid Gore (Worms for Lunch?) collaborates with his daughter on a story about a late-blooming mouse, the smallest and most self-effacing of four brothers. While Vick, Rick, and Mick have no trouble articulating their preferences and dreams (“I will be an astronaut,” Mick says, “I can hang upside down all day”), Nick keeps quiet (“he wasn’t sure yet who he wanted to be”). When the brothers zoom away on their bikes, Nick brings up the rear on his tricycle. The mice’s mother makes it clear that her love is evenly distributed, but it takes a nudge from nature to prove to Nick that he has plenty of potential. Emily Gore’s literal narration doesn’t offer many surprises, and while Nick is sweet, he’s not much else. However, Leonid Gore’s cheery palette, delicately textured rendering, and expert pacing show how a skilled illustrator can mitigate a somewhat heavy-handed message. He makes it seem like there’s a lot more going on than initially meets the eye—kind of like Nick himself. Ages 4–8. [em](June) [/em]