Good Night, Mouse! by Jed Henry (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $16.99, 32 pages)
Some children’s storybooks rely on clever illustrations to capture their audience and others rely on rhymes. Jed Henry’s adorable picture book, Good Night, Mouse!, gently brings his audience into a softly illustrated tale of Mouse, a fellow who can’t fall asleep. The characters, all of whom are friends of Mouse, take turns using their own method of falling asleep while encouraging Mouse to drift off to sleep.
The book is not too big and not too small. It is right-sized for cuddling on a downturned comforter. The wording is a blend of beautiful and caring sounds. Rabbit says, “I know how to wear him out. Tripping, skipping, tired tumbling. Good night, Mouse!” Noting that Mouse has become all wound up in Rabbit’s jump rope, Frog suggests, “A bath will soothe his weary bones.”
And so it goes, as each of Mouse’s many friends take a turn at putting him to bed. The book has long been a favorite of this reviewer’s little granddaughter. The book lives at grandma and grandpa’s house. It makes an appearance as the last book to be read before lights out. Funny how it lulls the reader and listener so that by the end of the story everyone is ready to say, “Good night.”
This book is recommended for children between the ages of 4 and 8.
Cheer Up, Mouse! by Jed Henry is also available.
No Bears by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Ridge (Candlewick Press, 32 pages, $15.99)
This is a novel children’s book written by Meg McKinlay, and illustrated by Leila Ridge. It’s about a girl named Ella. Ella loves books but is tired of reading stories that are filled with bears. As she says, “I’m tired of bears. Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS…” So she designs a story with pretty things, a princess, a castle, a monster and a giant. Oh, and also a fairy godmother with magical powers that might be needed to save the princess from the monster.
This 32-page Candlewick Press book is wonderfully illustrated, and throws in a lot of cool, sneaky references to well-known children’s tales (young readers will have fun discovering such things as the Owl and the Pussycat). It’s a great early reader because it includes standard phrases such as Once upon a time, Happily ever after, and The End. And it’s relaxing and unique especially because there are said to be NO BEARS in it. Not even one!
Written for readers aged 3 and up, and a few bright 2-year-olds. Toddlers who love animals will appreciate it; especially as they find that there are actually a few loveable bears hidden in its pages.
Christmas at the Toy Museum by David Lucas (Candlewick Press, $15.99, 32 pages)
This is a children’s book about 22 classic stuffed toys that live in a Toy Museum. On Christmas Eve, the toys all rush to gather under the Museum’s grand Christmas tree. Once there, they sadly realize that there are no gifts for them under the tree! That’s when Bunting the old toy cat comes up with a great idea – the toys will wrap themselves up as gifts for each other. This seems like a very good idea, except that Bunting is the “gift” opened last and he has no gift to open for himself.
Well, it turns out that the toy angel at the top of the tree is a real angel with magical powers. She decides to reward Bunting with a truly special gift, a wish that he can make that will come true. Bunting decides to wish that Christmas would last forever, and so it does from that point forward.
This is a beautifully illustrated tale that teaches young ones the value of selfishness, while also indirectly telling them that everything in life – including one’s friends – has value. Christmas at the Toy Museum would make a perfect gift for a child in almost any household.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Christmas at the Toy Museum is recommended for children ages 3 and up, although we can imagine that some smart 2-year-olds will also enjoy it. David Lucas is also the author-illustrator of Lost in the Toy Museum: An Adventure.
A review of The Sniffles for Bear: A Children’s Book by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Karly MacDonald Denton.