Tuesday’s Radar-Book Schedule and
One Reason to be Excited About
7-Imp’s Picture Book Week

h1 August 28th, 2007 by Eisha and Jules

Here is Tuesday’s Radar-Books schedule. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Just getting caught up? Read here for an explanation.

And remember how we announced yesterday that next week will be Picture Book Week here at 7-Imp? Well, I (Jules here) figured that each day this week, leading up to next week, I could highlight one new and noteworthy-for-one-reason-or-another picture book in order to get you geared up for 7-Imp’s Seven Impossible Posts About Picture Books (next week). So, Reason #1 to Love Picture Books Right Now is . . .

Mary and the Mouse, The Mouse and Mary by Beverly Donofrio and illustrated by Barbara McClintock (Schwartz & Wade Books; September ’07; review copy). This book is irresistible in so many ways, the kind of picture book you want to pick right back up and re-read a few times — and any young child anywhere in your vicinity with whom you share this book will be pretty much riveted, too.

Young Mary, who lives in a “big house with a very little mouse,” has been warned to stay away from mice. And Mouse, who lives in “a little house inside a very big house, with Mary,” has been warned to stay away from humans. They live parallel lives, McClintock depicting this in split-screen spreads with Mary on top and Mouse on the bottom, mirroring one another’s everyday rituals (“Every day Mary went to school down the street. Every day the mouse went to school in the hollow of a tree. Mary learned to draw and read, to count and sing. The mouse learned to do all the same things”) and giving them matching details in their matching lifestyles, all the way down to their clothes. One evening after each has her dinner, Mary in her parents’ dining room and Mouse in her mouse-house inside Mary’s big house, they spot each other and, from then on, “accidentally on purpose” take every opportunity they can to drop utensils, thus having to bend down, pick them up, and steal a glimpse (and wave quickly) at one another each time. Mary grows. Mouse grows. They go off to college, missing one another, and then have their own families, once again sharing another home. And the cycle repeats itself as Maria, Mary’s daughter, and Mouse Mouse, Mouse’s daughter, discover one another — yet, they take things one step further (“Then one night, Maria did something brave”) in the delightfully conspiratorial final spread, in which they crawl towards one another in their nightgowns before bed-time and whisper an enthusiastic “GOOD NIGHT!” (in lovely hand-lettering by Chris Costello, whose work also graces the cover), finally meeting face-to-face.

Choosing McClintock to bring this story to life with her delicate, graceful, concise pen-and-ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations was a stroke of genius — she succeeds again with her detailed (note the very specific time periods in which she places Mary and her daughter — and their mouse counterparts — when you pick up a copy of this gem of a book), richly-colored illustrations, and she packs a lot of humor in, too (Mary sitting in her dorm at college with a “Brown” pennant on her wall, and Mouse with a “Gouda” pennant adorning her dorm wall). Children will take pleasure in noting the itty-bitty artifacts and objects and furniture of the mouse-house and what exactly they are made of (an egg carton for a couch, complete with tea bags for pillows) — as well as delight in the entire notion of secret-sharing. And if you need, by chance, a good story which demonstrates the concept of generations or even simply growing up/growing older to the youngest of children, this is a good start. My own three-year-old announced to me, after we read this about one skerjillion times, to be precise (but notice I’m not complaining; I see something new every time), that when she grew up, she’d live with her sister. Whew. Since she can’t date ’til she’s forty, that’s good with me*.

Look what Publishers Weekly wrote in their review: “{O}nly a jaded reader could fail to be bewitched by McClintock’s meticulous panels or her piquant cover art, with its swingy hand-lettering and swaying heroines.” Swaying heroines! I love it, because, yes, there’s a lot of sashaying to school here that spans both generations and both our human and rodent protagonists, all terrifically endearing. Don’t miss this book this year. Highly recommended.

* * * * * * *

* I jest. Maybe thirty-five will do.

5 comments to “Tuesday’s Radar-Book Schedule and
One Reason to be Excited About
7-Imp’s Picture Book Week”

  1. Three reasons I need to read this book when it comes out:

    1) The review you’ve just given it.
    2) The TITLE alone.
    3) The adorable cover reminds me of Alice and the Mouse!

  2. Little Willow, I think its charms just might blind me. I had to put it up for a while and give it a rest. It’s a flat-out gorgeous book.

    If you read it, report back and let me know what you think!

  3. Oooh! Tiny things! Little furniture! Cute mice!!!

    Yes. Is this the great YA reader once AGAIN going all squishy and squeally about a picture book????

    Why, yes it is.


    Okay. Cuteness overload. Must lie down.

  4. […] by Schwartz & Wade, which Kirkus calls “irresistible.” This is a companion book to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, released back in ’07. Those of you familiar with the first title will know that Maria is […]

  5. […] a bad crop of books (AND there are cute mice over at 7-Imps Picture Books Celebration today). Stay tuned for more Under Radar […]

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