cover image The White-Footed Mouse

The White-Footed Mouse

Willem Lange, illus. by Bert Dodson. Bunker Hill (NBN, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59373-109-0

“I had the greatest dad that any kid has ever had,” opens this homespun and nostalgic story from the creators of Favor Johnson. The narrator’s recollections of his outdoor enthusiast father teaching him to bird watch and canoe gives Dodson the chance to exhibit his considerable skill at portraying the natural world in simple, disarming paintings. The narrator recalls Dad preparing him for his first hunting trip with the admonition never to “kill anything—fish, bird, or animal—you don’t intend to eat.” Huddled by the woodstove in their hunting camp, the two see a mouse in the rafters, and Dad rebukes the boy for feeding it a piece of cheese, saying he’ll set a trap for it tomorrow. When Dad prepares the trap, the boy argues that the tiny creature isn’t hurting anyone, and harks back to his father’s earlier rule, slyly asking, “Are we going to have him for breakfast or lunch?” It’s an authentic portrait of a father-son relationship, one with particular appeal for families whose love of hunting is tied to a strong respect for nature. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)