A rib-tickling addition to the mouse-adventure genre.

I AM THE MOUNTAIN MOUSE

In four short stories, headstrong Mountain Mouse cavalierly dares to tread where wiser mice fear to go.

Mountain Mouse loves to climb, and in “The Food Story,” he claims a cheese wedge because he’s “bigger” and “can climb higher” than the other mice. Ignoring his cautious friends’ warnings, Mountain Mouse scales a camel’s hump, thinking it’s a mountain. Barely surviving the camel, Mountain Mouse resurfaces in “The Pool Story.” Assuming a dish on the floor is a swimming pool, Mountain Mouse climbs a chair and blindly cannonballs into the cat’s water dish. In “The Bed Story,” unflappable Mountain Mouse climbs a tall tree searching for a bed and encounters a mother eagle defending her hatching egg. Finally, in the “The Coconut Story,” a reformed Mountain Mouse takes his pals to the beach and remains safely with them on shore when they spy a shark. Presented in comic-style frames with text bubbles, hilarious pencil-and-gouache illustrations provide a mouse’s-eye view of Mountain Mouse’s extravagant, arrogant behavior. In contrast to his smaller, brown and gray pals with their solemn faces and frantic gestures, Mountain Mouse’s stout frame, white fur, and dramatic expressions stand out, especially in the final scenes when he’s sporting giant shades and flamingo-print swim trunks.

A rib-tickling addition to the mouse-adventure genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-451-46955-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug.

THE HUG

What to do when you’re a prickly animal hankering for a hug? Why, find another misfit animal also searching for an embrace!

Sweet but “tricky to hug” little Hedgehog is down in the dumps. Wandering the forest, Hedgehog begs different animals for hugs, but each rejects them. Readers will giggle at their panicked excuses—an evasive squirrel must suddenly count its three measly acorns; a magpie begins a drawn-out song—but will also be indignant on poor hedgehog’s behalf. Hedgehog has the appealingly pink-cheeked softness typical of Dunbar’s art, and the gentle watercolors are nonthreatening, though she also captures the animals’ genuine concern about being poked. A wise owl counsels the dejected hedgehog that while the prickles may frighten some, “there’s someone for everyone.” That’s when Hedgehog spots a similarly lonely tortoise, rejected due to its “very hard” shell but perfectly matched for a spiky new friend. They race toward each other until the glorious meeting, marked with swoony peach swirls and overjoyed grins. At this point, readers flip the book to hear the same gloomy tale from the tortoise’s perspective until it again culminates in that joyous hug, a book turn that’s made a pleasure with thick creamy paper and solid binding.

Watching unlikely friends finally be as “happy as two someones can be” feels like being enveloped in your very own hug. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-571-34875-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre.

I LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE

A bear cub gets a load of lyrical loving from a lumbering parent in this nature walk.

Expressed in stumbling rhyme—“I love you more than trees / love to change with every season. / I love you more than anything. / I cannot name just one reason”—Benson’s perfervid sentiments accompany scenes of bear and cub strolling through stands of birch, splashing into a river to watch (just watch) fish, and, in a final moonlit scene, cuddling beneath starry skies. Foxes, otters, and other animal parents and offspring, likewise adoring, make foreground cameos along the way in Lambert’s neatly composed paper-collage–style illustrations. Since the bears are obvious stand-ins for humans (the cub even points at things and in most views is posed on two legs), the gender ambiguity in both writing and art allow human readers some latitude in drawing personal connections, but that’s not enough to distinguish this uninspired effort among the teeming swarm of “I Love You This Much!” titles.

A particularly soppy, sloppy addition to an already-overstuffed genre. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-022-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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