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Monday, October 4, 2010

One Is A Feast For Mouse, written by Judy Cox and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Holiday House, T Allen, 2009. $8.95 ages 4 and up

"So he balanced the pie
on top of the gravy boat
on top of the mashed
potatoes on top of the
carrot stick stuck in
the hole in the olive...
on top of the
cranberry on
top of the pea,
and he started off
across the table."

I have saved this book for most of a year, because I wanted to share it at Thanksgiving. Thankful we are to have such authors and artists creating wonderful and worthwhile books for us. Now you know my secret....if Thanksgiving is on my radar, I must live in CANADA! I do, and we celebrate Thanksgiving one week from today...with turkey and all the trimmings that promise to make a feast for one small, brown, determined, hungry, frightened and lucky mouse!

He begins with nothing on his plate. When Thanksgiving dinner is a thing of the past, Mouse leaves the security of his 'hidey-hole' for a quick peek. All is as it should be. Mom is catching a couple of winks in front of the TV, while Dad has fallen asleep reading his book. The kids are outside playing football in the crisp autumn air. Cat is basking in the warmth of the wood stove.  Now, is Mouse's  chance!

The bounty is plentiful. A pea seems perfect. Back he heads to his humble home; but, he finds himself intrigued by the other leftovers on the table. Perhaps one cranberry, and one olive, and one carrot stick. As the pile grows higher, so does his dream of a delicious, delectable dinner. He is so intent on balancing the burgeoning, breathtaking bounty that he forgets to keep vigilant for his mortal enemy...the house cat. When he stops for some leftover turkey, readers might think his 'goose is cooked'. He comes face to face with CAT!

Abject fear skids him to a stop and the tower topples. Cat is blamed, giving Mouse time to recover ' teensy-tiny, round and toothsome, green and luscious pea.'

The artwork is done in mixed media...acrylic paint, pastels and colored pencils. Each is used with a deft hand to create a world of wonder for all who share it. The changing perspectives add interest and draw the reader's eyes to the many details. Dad's hairy legs, red nose and button-popping belly give us a mouse-eye view of the aftermath of Thanksgiving dinner. The set table, complete with hand-shaped paper turkey place cards and Pilgrim salt and pepper shakers, is rife with yummy leftovers that will garner attention. The in-your- face close-up of Cat provides enough terror to have hearts thumping wildly. Add repetitive, expressive text and a quaint main character and you have a fine readaloud for sharing anytime, but especially now (or in seven and a half weeks from now).


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