________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 17 . . . . April 28, 2006


Little Library Mouse.

Stephanie Lisa Tara. Illustrated by Alex Walton.
Dallas, TX: Brown Books Publishing Group (purchase from the author), 2006.
32 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-933285-39-7.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.

internal art

There is a fair lineup of animals who have found homes in the library - I.Q. (a mouse); Clarence the Copy Cat, in a hilarious book by Patricia Lakin; and Carlo, Jessica Spanyol's giraffe who meets the Really Nice Librarian. And the idea of books and book characters coming alive or providing the springboard for flights of fancy is not a new one either.

     As the title page here says, "Even when you are little, You can imagine big." The book consists of a number of double spreads depicting the narrator, a white mouse, in unusual or dramatic situations. As he imagines himself as a circus acrobat or a monarch or the survivor of a shipwreck, he is transformed by costume and setting into a book character or the representation of a particular type of literature.

     There is a lack of consistency in the imagery, and the quatrains that make up the text are not uniformly successful from a literary point of view.

     They range from the charming:

"I'm a king, I'm a queen,
Upon words I stand tall.
Paws on my scepter
I command one and all."

     to the stumbling:

I'm a lion, I'm a tiger,
I discover as I read.
The paragraphs show me
What animals need."

     to the nonsensical:

"I'm a cobbler, I am leather,
I'm an elegant shoe.
Now recite an old verse
For that's what I do."

     This is author Stephanie Lisa Tara's second picture book, the first being I'll Follow the Moon, which was well-reviewed in CM in 2005. The idea for this one is amiable enough, but the rhyming text is strained. Artist Alex Walton is a British Columbian whose work has been mainly in the graphic design field. The pictures in Little Library Mouse are nicely composed and coloured in a somewhat subdued palette of purple, red and orange. The two real little white mice add an amusing note as they observe the antics of the main character. These illustrations deserve a better text.

Recommended with reservations.

Ellen Heaney is Head of Children's Services at the New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, BC.


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