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Friday, June 7, 2013

Cheer Up, Mouse! Written and illustrated by Jed Henry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son. 2012. $15.99 ages 3 and up

"How are we going to
make mouse smile?

I know how to pick him up.

Flap and flutter,
dip and dive -

Cheer up, Mouse!"

Poor Mouse! Everyone around him seems so happy, and he is obviously down in the dumps...his friends are trying to change that. Badger juggles, Bluebird and Crow waft a cloud of rose petals upon him, Rabbit balances Hedgehog on his nose, Frog and Mole sing and dance in time with Squirrel's fiddle playing. Gopher looks on with concern. Mouse mopes.

As the friends discuss their options for cheer, Mouse mopes. Their ideas are exhibited, each showing how hard they are willing to work to share what makes them happy...flying, digging, hopping, splashing, eating grubs, tumbling. Nothing seems to suit Mouse's needs for now.

It falls to Gopher, who has been carefully watching throughout, to finally recognize what Mouse really needs. He is not in need of action and fun...he is not that kind of mouse. As the fun and frivolity gives way to peace and quiet understanding, there is no need for words.

There are times when all a person (or a small brown mouse) needs is quiet and comfort. Recognizing that can be a tough job. This lovely and lively book helps young children see that we can do what works to make us happy, but sometimes it is a gentle hug that is all that is needed to bring joy!
Exuberant, expressive double page spreads are filled with bold colors and happy action. Young readers will find much to observe and discuss as this book is shared. The group hug that concludes this tale of friendship is sure to encourage the same in listeners. So, go on...hug a friend!

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