House Mouse

HarperCollins/Greenwillow. May 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062866196.
K-Gr 2–With the graphic minimalism of a simple group of shapes or the squiggle of a line, a house mouse creates a space that evolves into a house for all. Where she finds the warmth and welcome of a fire, she adds the column of a stove “to mark the spot where the chilliness wasn’t.” Where the ground seems protected from a fox, Mouse builds the area for the house’s floor. Simple text and action verbs accentuated with font changes and angular placements of text invite investigation of images and action each time Hall’s triangular Mouse pulls out a hammer from her tool pail and adds to her house. Rain falls in a heavy sheet, rectangular drops that never touch the area of her home’s floor, and observant Mouse builds a rooftop that shapes her “peaceful, dry house.” A knocking alerts Mouse to build a door, a door she opens to welcome strangers—travelers add their own ingredients to the mix of soup for dinner. Now “it was a welcoming place and the house mouse wanted everyone to know it.” As Mouse stands bearing a flaming torch to light the way in the final frame, educators may find a teaching moment about metaphors.
VERDICT A suggested first purchase for all libraries, this simple book is a timely addition to titles that encourage social emotional learning as it presents a step-by-step transformation that echoes safety with an enduring welcome and empathy for newcomers.

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