PreSchool-Grade 1—Squeak reminds her friend Pip not to forget Gus's birthday present as the two mice rush to his party. But there's freshly fallen snow and an exciting ride on an envelope-turned-sled, and the cheese is forgotten. With no time to turn back, Pip tries to find a substitute, each of which is rejected by his companion. Then he spots something big and orange on the face of a snowman. Surely it must be cheese? At this point, children will be shouting out that it's a carrot, not cheese, and will share in Squeak's concern when Pip falls into the snow. The mouse lands safely, and the two proceed to the festivities with the new gift. The party scene, with charming details of acorn-top cups and bottle-cap hats, delivers the surprise that the birthday boy is a rabbit, making a carrot the perfect present after all. The spare, uncluttered images will make easy viewing for storytimes, although the intended humor of the large gnome, flamingo, and other lawn statuary that populate the snowy pages may be lost on young children. An appealing if not essential pick.—Susan Moorhead, New Rochelle Public Library, NY
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Pip and Squeak, two mice, have been invited to a birthday party for their friend Gus, and their gift, a lump of cheese, is wrapped with a bow. But a huge snow has fallen, and getting to the party isn't easy: sliding on a letter, walking the tightrope of a clothesline. It's only later that Squeak notices that Pip has forgotten the cheese. Now what? There are a few items that seem like possible gifts. Would Gus like the plastic pink flamingo buried in the snow? Finally, the mice spot a carrot functioning as a snowman's nose; at least they can carry it. Pip thinks Gus won't like it, but in a surprise ending, Gus (a bunny), likes it very much. This simple yet clever story gets literal breadth by its spacious design. Several of the spreads are taken up by snowy landscapes. Some feature close-ups from unexpected angles, and everything is designed to show things from a mouse's perspective. Schoenherr's draftsmanship is quite fine; Pip and Squeak look like real mice, albeit adventurous ones. Ilene Cooper
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