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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Where's Mommy? Written by Beverly Donofrio and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Schwartz & Wade, Random House. 2014. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"In the kitchen, Maria found
her mother's coffee cup half
In her kitchen, Mouse Mouse
found her mother's tea thimble
completely full.
Maria looked in her mother's
bedroom, but there wasn't a

What fun to read an equally charming sequel that continues the original story of Mary and Mouse (Mary and the Mouse, The Mouse and Mary, Schwartz and Wade, 2007)! This time we meet their children, Maria and Mouse Mouse.

Maria's best friend is a wee mouse. No one else has seen her, and Maria wants it to stay that way. Should anyone discover Mouse Mouse, Maria is afraid that an exterminator (aka a cat)  might get a call, ending their blossoming friendship. Mouse Mouse feels the same. No one in her family needs to know anything about Maria, or they will have to move.

Their lives are shown in parallel stories. They do the same things at the same time, including calling for their mothers. Neither one of them is anywhere nearby, and so a double search begins. They look high and low, in their respective abodes. They ask after their mothers. The family is unconcerned, even though the mothers are nowhere to be found in the house. It is not until both notice a light coming from the shed that they make an amazing discovery!

I love that the lives are shared above and below the floor line. As they move about, readers can see the exactly parallel life each leads. The tiny details of those daily happenings has huge imaginative appeal for all young readers. They are sure to be enamored of the perspectives shared by two very different friends. The story flows quietly, and would suit for bedtime reading, repeatedly.

The pen-and-ink, watercolor and gouache illustrations match the text perfectly in both tone and imagination. You must look closely to see the many connections that Barbara McClintock makes from human to mouse home. They add charm and true delight for fascinated readers. They are sure to have little ones wishing that they, too, might live in such a tiny world.

In the end, when both mothers have been found and their secret shared, they settle their young daughters in with a bedtime tale:

 “And what do you think those stories were about?”

That is up to you to answer!

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