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Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears (Kate Greenaway Medal) Hardcover – September 9, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 4—A tiny mouse and his gigantic fears collide in this humorous creation. This handbook dramatically states, "A fear faced is a fear defeated," and encourages the fainthearted to conquer their fright through writing, drawing, and collage. Spare text and delightful illustrations chronicle this nervous rodent's journey. From ablutophobia, the fear of bathing, to sciaphobia, the fear of shadows, the striking mixed-media art captures the humorous adventures of the white mouse and his red pencil. The pictures emphasize shadow and light, pitting the winsome rodent against some of the scariest and most exotic phobias. Unusual elements abound through a hodgepodge of folded maps and newspaper clippings; varied perspectives and dominant figures feature a cameo by the Three Blind Mice and a dramatic retelling of "Hickory Dickory Dock." With nuanced facial expressions, the mouse scurries through each textured spread against warm cream-colored backgrounds; his actualization reveals a delightful conclusion. Through one-on-one sharing or personal perusal, readers will clamor to relive this small hero's adventures.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayatteville, NC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Little Mouse lists his fears—ablutophobia (fear of bathing), phagophobia (fear of being eaten)—and many others. The phobias are illustrated with mixed-media images including artfully torn pages, lift-the-flaps, and foldouts. Each spread examines two fears, giving the Latin name, definition, and icon in the upper left of each page, along with a small-typeface invitation to use the space below to record your fears. Putting aside obvious problems that result from inviting children to write in books, this tale has heart provided by the whisker-trembling expressiveness of Little Mouse. Nibbling pages and pencils are Little Mouse’s coping mechanisms, but cope he does, encouraged on the last spread by a woman who suffers from musophobia (fear of mice) standing on a chair: I’m afraid of nearly everything I see. But even though I’m very small . . . she’s afraid of me! Some of the clever addenda may pass younger readers by, but adults and older readers will appreciate the word-and-image play. Encouraging children to face their anxieties can be a fearsome endeavor; this may be just the ticket. --Janice Del Negro --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Kate Greenaway Medal
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416959300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416959304
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.4 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emily Gravett is the author and illustrator of Spells, The Odd Egg, Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears (winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal), Monkey and Me and Meerkat Mail. Her first book, Wolves, was the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award for Illustration. Her second book, Orange Pear Apple Bear, a Quills Award finalist and on the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Emily lives in Brighton, England, with her partner, their daughter, and the family dog.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Turtle502 VINE VOICE on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is really difficult to figure out what this book is. It's not the type of book that you necessarily sit down and read; it's the type of book that you appreciate for its visuals and its subtle play on words with images. I seem to enjoy the book much more than my daughter, so I'm not even sure it can be classified as a children's book.

Each page is devoted to a fear, using the lengthy scientific term for the fear. It explains what the fear is, and then the page contains images, items, or text associated with that fear, from the perspective of the mouse. Some of the images are very abstract, and therefore most children would miss the fun play-on-words present in this book. My daughter, who is 7, was shocked by the page devoted to "fear of knives", which used the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice" to get the point across. There's a lot on that page, though, and plenty to look at, but not necessarily appropriate for younger children. In fact, parts of this book are so abstract that it's hard to determine what age range is appropriate -- it depends on the child and how much that child can appreciate art.

The book, however, is a work of art, and I'm personally impressed. Some of the pages are cut specifically to match the artwork - so you can view an image on the page underneath, for example. One page has a hole punched through it, while another has edges or corners cut off. On other pages, there are additional pieces pasted to the pages -- postcards, newspaper clippings, maps, etc. A map in particular is fascinating, extremely detailed, and entertaining -- it looks like a map of England, but instead is a map of a mouse, where body parts and organs appear as cities, roads, and islands.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By N. Ferguson R. on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The premise of this book is that a little mouse has found a human's self-help workbook related to dealing with your fears. The little mouse tries to use the workbook to help herself. She is afraid of a lot of things, since she is so tiny and vulnerable (cats, owls, dogs, spiders, shadows, etc.).

Each page of this book is clever, gorgeous, funny, and sweet. The illustrations are so rich and imaginative, and the premise so unique, that I think this has to be considered one of the best children's books of the year. This book is full of cool foldouts, lift the flaps, and hidden interesting drawings and facts. My favorite thing about it is the way it can be shared between parent and child- there is much to talk about on each page, so it can be a really sharing, snuggle up sort of experience. The sweet, incredibly expressive, and VERY endearing little mouse provides a wonderful way to talk about feelings (and help kids build empathy, learn to deal with their own feelings, etc.).

Inevitably, some parents will try to read this to toddlers and will be unhappy with the result. But this is a wonderful book to share with the older picture book set. (If your child isn't old enough to get the basic concept of the book outlined here/understand that mice are timid and that a little mouse is trying to overcome her fears, wait a couple of years and then share the fun!)

In the end, the nifty "workbook" helps the mouse express her feelings creatively. She gets a little perspective when she notes that an enormous human is sometimes afraid of her! Absolutely unique, satisfying, interesting, smart, witty, beautifully illustrated... this is a great book.

Emily Gravett is one of the major talents in illustration today.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By skywatcher on September 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a fantastic, creatively designed book! The little mouse mentions every-day things that it would be afraid of (cats, dogs, people+), and at the top of each page there is a real definition of certain fears. The illustrations are very well done with a mix of photographs, sketches (which are fantastic), and 3D pull outs (like the map of the mouse, with fears written on it!). My favorite feature is that the book encourages active participation, and that even as an adult, I was interested in checking out all the "nooks and crannies" of the book's pages. There's much hidden, and I had several laughs. Fun book, with a creative layout, and multi-layered approach to learning!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bethany McKinney Fox on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let me start with what I really enjoyed about the book. The layout is truly interesting and creative -- some of the pages have the corners cut to look like they were gnawed on, some pictures are taped in scrapbook style, and one of the pages even has a large foldout map. There is a diversity of texture and style on each page that makes turning the page fun, and I wondered what kind of creative layout was in store with each turn.
But having said that, there was not much else that really grabbed me as an adult reader. Each page gives the clinical name and definition of a phobia Little Mouse has, and then an illustration to go along with it. There isn't really much of a story. It also would be hard for me to imagine it keeping the attention of most of the children I know, since the color scheme is kind of dull (mostly grays and browns and black).
If you're really into books with interesting layouts and textures, you might enjoy this one. But for a book children want to read again and again, or for people wanting to hear a good story, this probably isn't the best choice.
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Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears (Kate Greenaway Medal)
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