cover image Mouse House Tales

Mouse House Tales

Susan Pearson, illus. by Amanda Shepherd. Blue Apple (Random, dist.), $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-60905-050-4

Mouse is fortunate in her many friends. Although each one sees the world through a very particular lens—Wren thinks all homes are essentially versions of a nest; Goat believes any occasion is made better with cheese, which becomes the book’s running joke—they are always ready to work together and help her. In the first of two stories divided into a handful of brief chapters, the animals come together to help Mouse build a home; in the second, they join forces in an attempt to build Mouse a trap to catch what she thinks is a ghost. Even when her friends’ efforts don’t pan out, Mouse never questions their concern for her well-being. By subtly addressing the ingredients of successful friendships—a tolerance for quirks and peccadilloes, a willingness to believe in the good will of others—Pearson (Slugger) and Shepherd (Such a Silly Baby!) create some genuine food for thought. Although Pearson’s writing vacillates unpredictably between rhymes and straightforward prose, Shepherd expertly choreographs her large, eager cast, bringing forth their distinctive effusiveness. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)