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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Such a Little Mouse, written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Stephanie Yue. Orchard Books, Scholastic. 2015. $18.99 ages 3 and up

"He sees a snail
climbing up a fern.
He watches the busy bees
on the clover blossoms.
"Busy, busy, bizzzzzz,"
say the bees.
He hears a woodpecker,
hammering a tree."

Following an engaging little mouse through the seasons from spring to winter is the premise for this lovely new book from master poet Alice Schertle. I look forward to each new publication, knowing that it is sure to engage readers and make a great read aloud for little ones.

He may be little but, he is an explorer. Each day he resolutely leaves his burrow in search of adventure in the big wide world. He listens to the many sounds, admires the sights, and manages to bring home a morsel to be stored in his warm, cozy hole. He does the same thing in summer. He stops to watch, to visit as he explores, and returns home with another item for his storeroom.

As leaves turn color and begin to blow around, he leaves his home to note the rustling sounds of falling leaves and to feel the nip in the air. There are many observations to make about the coming winter ... his meadow friends are preparing for its arrival. His storeroom is full.

When he pokes his head out at his first glimpse of winter, he knows exactly what to do.

"Back he goes, down
into his warm hole.
He makes a loaf of acorn bread.
He makes seed-and-watercress soup.
He snuggles up under
a little moss blanket
with a book of mouse tales."

There he stays ... until spring.

What an invitation this is for Ms. Schertle's young audience to get outside and make some discoveries of their own. Her text is repetitive and structured. Stephanie Yue paints a playful picture of nature, making it attractive and inviting for her audience. Her pages are filled with energy and warmth, allowing  us a close look at the meadow that is this little mouse's home.

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