Moose, Goose, and Mouse by Mordicai Gerstein; illustrated by Jeff Mack. 2021 Ink, pencil and watercolor on paper and digital collage. Published by Holiday House.
Brief summary: Moose, Goose, and Mouse live in a wet, old, and cold house with mold. They take a train to look for a nicer home. They are in the caboose when it becomes loose going backwards up and down hills. It derails and crashes into a large palm tree by the sea. Will they find a new house?
Summary: Beautiful and heartfelt story in the back page of how this book was created. Jeff Mack and Mordicai met with four other author friends every month for about ten years to talk about their books. Jeff and Mordicai develop a work relationship. And, I’ll stop there, so I do not spoil how and why the book was created.
Rhyming book. Fun and hilarious read aloud for little ones.
The Barnabus Project by the Fan Brothers. 2020. Graphite and colored digitally. Published by Penguin Random House.
Brief summary: Barnabus is a combo of a mouse and an elephant. He lives in a secret lab underneath the Perfect Pets store. Barnabus is one of many failed projects living in bell jars dreaming of the world above thanks to the descriptions of it by a cockroach named Pip. One day Green Rubber Suits come down poking and talking about each creature in a bell jar while putting red stamps on all of the jars…FAIL. Before, they had no idea they were failed lab projects until Pip tells them that they indeed are and that there are better versions of themselves above. The creatures are going to be recycled. Barnabus decides he wants to go up now and see that wonderful world the cockroach tells everyone. All the creatures decide to join Barnabus and their adventures begin with figuring out how to get above. What will they discover?
Comments: I love the imagination and creativity of this book. The Perfect Pets Store is hilarious. Young readers can empathize with the failed projects and the desire of the creatures wanting to escape to live freely in a new world.
The Fan Brothers never fail to share a unique and creative story.
Squeak! by Laura McGee Kvasnosky; illustrated by Kate Harvey McGee. 2019. First painted the black layer in gouache resist and then painted the color digitally in Photoshop. Published by Philomel Books.
Brief summary: Early in a forest’s morning, the breeze of the wind went past a mouse’s ear causing him to *squeak*! That *squeak!* floated to a chipmunk causing him to chatter in the branches of a pine tree. A pine cone falls into the river below making a *splash!* in the water. All of the creatures in the forest’s habitat experience the result of the wind’s first touch of the mouse’s ear resulting and ending with the mouse again.
Comments: Fun way to learn about the sounds of the forest. This book could be read to introduce a hearing unit and a forest habitat. This also could be an onomatopoeia introduction book.
The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen. 2017. Mixed media. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: One morning, a mouse is eaten by wolf and moans about his unexpected end as it sits in the beast’s belly. “Be quiet!” The mouse is surprised to find a duck in bed. They have breakfast together in which the rodent learns all about the duck’s life inside the belly of the wolf. The mouse asks if he can stay too where there is no worry. The duck agrees. They dance about causing the wolf’s tummy to hurt. The duck suggests he knows how to cure his ache and lists a few supplies he would like the wolf to swallow. A hunter comes along and tries to shoot the wolf. Realizing their safe home is under attack, the goose and mouse come up with a plan scaring the hunter away. In return of saving his life, the wolf grants them a favor.
Comments: Has a fable feel. My favorite line is “I may have been swallowed,” says the duck, “but I have no intention of being eaten.” It made me think of what it would be like to live inside the belly of a beast that I was always being frightened by in my every day life.
I Am the Mountain Mouse by Gianna Marino; illustrated by Gianna Marino. 2016. Gouache and pencil.
Brief summary: Four short tales about a very determined, carefree white mouse who believes he is a brave and mighty mountain mouse and tries to dominate each situation resulting in many of his own misunderstandings. He ignores his three mouse friends’ advice in every silly adventure.
Comments: Primary readers will relate to his misinterpretations and try to predict what will happen next in each mini story.