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Little Mouse Gets Ready: TOON Level 1 Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
When mama tells Little Mouse that it's time to get ready to go to the barn he knows just what to do. Being a big mouse, he's going to get dressed all by himself. With simple instructions, Little Mouse leads readers through the perils of getting dressed. For underpants "Just be sure to get your tail in the tail hole." For trousers, "I have to sit down to put my pants on." Step by step, Little Mouse gets dressed until at long last he is finished. Mama comes and then immediately wants to know what he's doing. After all... mice don't wear clothes! Silly Little Mouse.
Picture books on getting dressed exist out there, but generally they're not particularly memorable. "Ella Sarah Gets Dressed" comes to mind, of course, but it won a Caldecott Honor, so that's probably why I remember it. And anyway, that book wasn't so much about how to get dressed as it was about personal style. The thing I like about "Little Mouse" is that even if Smith threw a dart at a board full of potential picture book topics (using the potty, going to the dentist, flying on an airplane, etc.) at least this is one of the lesser known but essential ones he could have chosen. The book really makes a serious effort at showing how one gets dressed each day too. From buttons and Velcro to snaps and where the tag on underwear goes, this is a downright helpful guide for little ones. The writing isn't half bad either. Smith is prone to putting in sayings like "Yes sir!" in his books, which is more than a little bit adorable. Little Mouse generally keeps on topic as he dresses himself, but once in a while he'll throw in extras like "If we're GOOD, Mama will let us swim in the cow's water," to fill in the moments when you don't need a play-by-play of what he's doing.
Smith has always had a strain of Walt Kelly running through his drawing hand. Like Kelly, he does a righteous cute animal. A bunch of them appeared in the "Bone" books, and certainly Little Mouse wouldn't look one bit out of place in that world. And I love that though he's getting dressed, Little Mouse still has the physiognomy of a real mouse (opposable thumbs excluded). His feet are ginormous, so he requires huge sneakers to get over his long, lengthy footsies. And with his clear cut pen and inks, Smith's style is perfectly suited to the picture book/graphic novel format. He is crisp and he is clear. Kids will also get a kick out of the final image in this book where we see the family of mice trotting along, father looking perturbed as Little Mouse leads the way, fully clothed, proud as all get out.
Mind you, much of the reason I like this book has to do with its surreal ending. In it Mama takes one look at the now fully dressed Little Mouse and informs him that, "Well... mice don't wear clothes." The entirely shocked offspring leaps in the air, dislodging all outer vestments while his mother remains almost entirely motionless. Turn the page and you get the book's only two-page spread with the still motionless mom on the left and the retreating embarrassed speck of a Little Mouse high-tailing it on the right. Final shot and Mama regards the viewer, saying "What a silly little mouse!" which is all the funnier since she is entirely motionless AND emotionless as she says it. I can already see the literal-minded children of the world scratching their heads, trying to work this one out. So . . . wait. Where'd he get those clothes then?
As strange as it may sound, you could probably make an entire clothing optional storytime out of this book and Mo Willems's "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed". The two have an awful lot in common, after all. Rodentia. The shame of wearing clothes. They've different focuses, but you get the gist. You could even throw in the aforementioned "Ella Sarah Gets Dressed" and have yourself a full-fledged thematic storytelling, if you wanted. As TOON Books go, I know that every time I review one I say, "This one's the best!" but I think "Little Mouse Gets Ready" actually is. If you haven't seen a TOON Book before, this is a good place to start. Cute and surreal all at once; my favorite combination.
So it's no surprise that Smith channels even more of that energy into his kid-friendly new book, Little Mouse Gets Ready, from Toon Books. Toon's philosophy is to create works that bridge the gap between picture books and graphic novels--big, bold images told sequentially with word balloons and text guiding young eyes through the story.
As expected, the story is quite simple. As you may have guessed from the title, a little mouse gets ready (meaning he gets dressed), and he narrates all along the way. That's about it (well, he digresses in his talking, but still). And it's quite good, actually! Smith has always been talented with crafting fun dialogue that kids and adults can both appreciate, and his art is a continuation of the early greats (tinged with a style all his own). So Little Mouse Gets Ready is a classic-looking comic in the best possible sense.
Kids will love the book, and adults will love reading it to them. It's funny, charming, and just really well done.
-- John Hogan
This book is great. It is written like a comic but for children. The words are really simple to read and follow. They are big and easy enough for children to pronounce. At the same time, the story is just so funny the kids want to read it.
A very cute engaging book for children.