cover image Gustave


Rémy Simard, trans. from the French by Shelley Tanaka, illus. by Pierre Pratt. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $18.95 (56p) ISBN 978-1-55498-451-0

“Gustave won’t play with me anymore. He won’t tell me goodnight. He won’t look at me anymore.” A mouse with pink ears and an oversize nose sits huddled in the shadow of a building. “The cat ate him.” Is Gustave the mouse’s brother? His friend? The cat’s eyes are shown in sharp close-up, moist and gleaming. “He looked at Gustave, and then he looked at me.” Gustave and the mouse telling the story embrace as they look up at the cat in terror. Gustave looks just like the narrator, with one exception: Gustave’s eyes are unblinking—he’s a stuffed toy. “I couldn’t go back home. Not without Gustave.” The mouse returns at last as his mother is making dinner; she holds him while he cries, then leads him to a closet, where she’s been keeping a spare stuffed mouse just his size. Some readers, taking a longer view, will find Simard’s (Hocus Pocus Takes the Train) parody of a child’s sense of crisis downright funny. Others, identifying with Gustave’s owner, may find the story too wrenching to finish. Ages 4–7. (Oct.)