cover image The Big House and the Little House

The Big House and the Little House

Yoshi Ueno, illus. by Emiko Fujishima. Levine Querido, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-64614-049-7

This quiet tale about two lonely animals is warmed by closely hatched spreads in gentle tints. Though they each live alone along the same road, Little Mouse goes one way, into town, each morning as Big Bear heads the other way, to the forest—“And that’s why the two of them had never met,” Ueno explains. They walk right past each other as they search for fun: “I’m the only one who is all alone,” Little Mouse says to herself as she watches families picnic in the forest; Big Bear thinks the same in a parallel spread that envisages the town. At last they meet and drink tea in Big Bear’s warm, cozy kitchen, with Little Mouse seated on an overturned teacup. The next week, in a heavy rain, Big Bear saves Little Mouse’s home while she’s still inside it, carrying it to a place that will make their friendship bloom. Lifting his friend’s house makes Big Bear a modest hero, but the drama doesn’t take over the story. Ueno’s leisurely pace and Fujishima’s comforting artwork create a bubble that surrounds and encloses readers, who come to feel part of Little Mouse and Big Bear’s world. Ages 4–7. [em](Mar.) [/em]