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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

MIce, written by Rose Fyleman and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. 2012. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"I think mice
are rather nice.
Their tails are long,
their faces small.
They haven't
any chins
at all."

I have always loved this little poem. Although I don't remember memorizing it as a child, I must have. As soon as I began reading this new book by Lois Ehlert, it came back to me, word for word. Such is the power of poetry, and why we want to be sharing it with children at every opportunity. It's worth it!

To add Ms. Ehlert's bold and beautifully designed and colored illustrations is definitely the icing on the cake, wouldn't you agree? I love the two brilliant white teeth sticking out of their mouths, their knotted string leg and arms, their crimped paper tails and the lovely pink ears. We have begun to recognize personality; that's all on the cover.

The gently rhymed text is the perfect foil for the playful, witty collage illustrations that characterize this illustrator's work. The textured, torn-paper collages bring life to each page and show the tiny rodents scampering across the black backgrounds of the nighttime,  getting into mischief and eating anything that is visible to them. The labels are helpful to little ones who love independence when they are reading, and also to budding artists as they pore over the deft artwork with eager eyes.

The appealing scenes are numerous, and there is a lot for us to see. Some pages will evoke memories and invite discussion. Her little surprise at the end is perfect. I know that I had never thought seriously about who, or what, might be reciting this bit of whimsy. What a lovely and lively book to share with a group of little ones!

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