From Publishers Weekly
Harris (It's Perfectly Normal) and Ormerod (Miss Mouse Takes Off) admirably and successfully tackle a child's first encounter with death, through the loss of a beloved pet. "When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up," says the unnamed narrator, a preschool-age boy. Author and artist both possess an acute sense of the boy's emotional trajectory. After his first outpouring of grief and anger (which Ormerod depicts in a stunning facial close-up), the boy focuses on preparations for Mousie's funeral, busily filling the coffin with mementos and then decorating it with "wiggly stripes." But his composure crumbles when he discovers a piece of toast missing from his plate: "Where did it go? Did it die too?" Acceptance finally comes after he and his parents bury Mousie, and it is authentically childlike: "So, maybe someday, I'll get another mouse," the boy says, stretched across the floor and contemplatively dawdling with Mousie's exercise wheel. "But not just yet." The artist's fluid pencil lines underscore the vulnerability of the boy and the poignancy of his story. Uplifting details (the boy's mouse slippers, a stuffed mouse toy) offer a glimmer of hope, and the solidity at the heart of her characterizations especially in the portraits of the narrator seeking comfort from his parents will be immensely reassuring to young readers. Ages 4-8.
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Ages 2-4. A little boy wakes up one morning and tickles his pet mouse's tummy, but Mousie doesn't move. So begins this story for the very youngest about the death of a pet. Daddy tells the boy that Mousie is dead, but the child prefers to think that Mousie is just very, very tired. Slowly, after lots of tears and many questions, the boy comes to terms with the fact that his pet is gone. He plans for the funeral by painting a picture of himself to put inside the shoebox that will hold Mousie. He will get another pet, but not right away. Ormerod's honest pictures, black-pencil line drawings with watercolor washes on buff-colored paper, capture the emotions of the situation and chronicle the boy's move from disbelief to acceptance. The endpapers, on which Mousie cavorts, show what a delightful little pet he was. The choice of a first-person narrative has a tendency to distance listeners because the boy often sounds older than he looks. Still, this covers all the bases of a frequently asked-for subject. Ilene Cooper
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