Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Mary and the Mouse, The Mouse and Mary

Mary and the Mouse, The Mouse and Mary

Spring 2008 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Author: Beverly Donofrio
Illustrator: Barbara McClintock
ISBN: 978-0-375-83609-1
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Printed on thickly textured creamy paper, this homage to friendship between humans and animals has the look of an old fashioned classic. The text has the balanced charm of yesteryear as much so that it comes as a surprise to see a bright yellow VW Beetle midway through. Mary (a human) lives in a big house which happens to house a very little mouse. Mouse lives in a big house too, which happens to house a very large human named Mary. Mary discovers Mouse; Mouse discovers Mary. When Mary grows up and moves away and becomes a mother herself, she once again lives in a very big house which happens to contain a very little mouse. Surprise! Mouse has grown up and moved away and become a mother and now lives in a very big house that happens to have a human in it named Mary. Mary has a daughter; Mouse has a daughter. The gentle reader can probably take it from there...blithely ignoring the wildly different life spans of humans and rodents. This is not, after all, a lesson in biology. The parallel stories dovetail nicely, the pace is leisurely, the dynamic cozy, and the ending just a tiny bit flat. The pictures, however, will entice children's eyes long after the tale is done, particularly the lovingly detailed interiors belonging to the mice: an egg carton sofa with tea bag pillows, an end table made out of a spool of thread, a safety pin hung on the wall as art along with a bright-colored bottle cap and so on. The idea of a tiny world within a world is always enticing, and this one-bathed in a golden glow-is particularly appealing.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

Look for this product at:
Random House Children's Books / Schwartz and Wade Books

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