cover image Charlie & Mouse

Charlie & Mouse

Laurel Snyder, illus. by Emily Hughes. Chronicle, $14.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4521-3153-5

In four ebullient linked stories, Snyder (Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova) and Hughes (A Brave Bear) introduce the two eponymous brothers and their down-to-earth family. “I am a mom,” says Mom when she refuses to come out from under the covers early one morning. “I can do what I want.” From there, readers follow along as Charlie and Mouse organize an impromptu party at a playground, try to make money selling rocks (a nifty twist makes this the best story in the book), and try to postpone bedtime as long as possible. “We cannot go to sleep without a bedtime banana,” says Mouse, backing up Charlie. It’s a friendly, hang-loose world: the boys share a bed, Mouse dons a tutu for the playground party, and the customers for the boys’ rock-selling business include a gay couple, Mr. Erik and Mr. Michael. The emphasis on dialogue gives the stories the immediacy of a play script, and Hughes’s easygoing vignettes add just the right amount of visual punctuation. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. Illustrator’s agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.)