This short, thematic poetry collection from Ryder (Big Bear Ball, p. 666, etc.) focuses on one night in the life of a common field mouse, though this mouse is an uncommonly accomplished rodent who writes first-person narrative poems describing a mouse’s world. In 18 rhyming selections, the mouse poet examines the metaphor of a “Mouse Tail Moon” (a new moon curved like a tail); a mouse’s defenses, such as smell, camouflage, whiskers, and flight; food and water; parasites (fleas), enemies (an owl and a fox), birth, death, communication, and play. Most of the poems are humorous, such as “Whisker Wise,” about the use of whiskers as a navigational device, while “Brother” deftly shows the sadness of losing an unwary relative to an all-too-wary fox. Kneen (The Snow Bear, 2001, etc.) uses a muted moonlit palette for her charming watercolor illustrations of the mouse narrator, along with friends and foes. Each illustration employs a different size and format, integrated with abundant white space, a large type size, and a delightfully subtle, curving pink line next to the page numbers (representing a tiny mouse tail). The arresting cover shows the title in luminous white letters against a twilight-lavender background, with a vigilant owl, the crescent moon, and the echoing crescent of the mouse narrator’s tail curving out of the illustration’s border. Teachers in the early elementary grades will find this book useful both as poetry and as literature that effectively integrates interesting factual information. (Poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8050-6404-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?


Hilarity and hijinks abound in this tale about a voracious swine with an overweening yen for hot buttered toast. Mercy is the beloved pet pig of the doting Mr. and Mrs. Watson. When Mercy sneaks into her owner’s bed one night, her added heft causes the bed to fall partway through the ceiling. Although the besotted Watsons assume Mercy is trotting off to seek help, the only search and rescue Mercy seems to care about involves butter and hot bread. In her quest for some midnight munchies, Mercy awakens the crotchety neighbor. Wild chases and mayhem ensue before help arrives in the guise of firefighters. DiCamillo aims for over-the-top fun with her tale of porcine shenanigans, and Van Dusen’s gouache illustrations provide a comical counterpart to the text. The glossy paintings, with exaggerated caricatures and lively colors, complement DiCamillo’s tone, although the scowling, lantern-jawed visage of the crabby neighbor borders on the unpleasant. With vocabulary that may prove too challenging for a novice, DiCamillo’s tale is best suited for those ready to move up. However, the pacing and the action easily make it right for shared reading. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-2270-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet