Thursday, February 16, 2006

Big Week For Little Mouse by Eugenie Fernandes

Big Week For Little Mouse
by Eugenie Fernandes
Illustrated by Kim Fernandes
Ages: 2-5
Topics: birthdays, opposites, days of the week

Little Mouse has a week to get lots of work done. Each day, she helps Mother Mouse with a different chore. On Monday, she helps clean the house:
On Monday Mouse does many chores.
Washing windows. Mopping floors.
Buckets empty. Buckets full.
Shine and polish. Push and pull.
On Wednesday, she picks flowers, on Friday, she decorates hats, and on Sunday she hangs balloons and waits for her friends to arrive. When they finally arrive, all the hard work pays off as everyone has a great time at her party:
Oh, what a week!Oh, what a day!
All her friends have come to say,
"We like parties at your house..."
"Happy Birthday Little Mouse!"

The story is told in rhyming couplets and reinforces the days for the week and opposite concepts. Each day of the week has its own set of to-dos and demonstrates pairs of opposites, the hats being decorated are "plain" and "fancy", the flowers are "short" and "tall", and my favorite:
Jelly's messy. Cheese is neat.
Lemons are sour. Berries are sweet.

The days of the week and opposites are all in bold text and the text is very simple making it a good choice for beginning readers. While the narrative is awkward at times, children will enjoy identifying the opposites, the daily count down to the event, and guessing what the big event is. Parents will appreciate Little Mouse's positive attitude towards doing her part and helping with chores.

What makes this book outstanding is the artwork, which is "rendered in Fimo, a pliable modeling material." The care and detail here is amazing and will fascinate both children and adults. There are numerous textured layers of the clay and the clever indentations and use of buttony shapes creates a 3-D effect that really invites the reader into Little Mouse's world. The fur on all the animals looks almost real and children will want to touch the illustrations. The clay is particularly effective at creating a sense of moving liquid, the sloping pails of water, the jelly dripping off a cracker, the spatula in the bowl of frosting. There's hundreds of little details to spy -- the wizardy curtains, Little Mouse's grey teddy, the patches on her blanket, the spilling glue, the thread spool stool, the shiny peacock feather in her hat-- in this sweet teapot house world. This book will make you want to bring out the playdough and try out a few tricks.

Eugenie and Kim Fernandes are a mother and daughter team and have also collaborated on two other mouse books, Busy Little Mouse and Sleepy Little Mouse, and Little Toby and the Big Hair. Eugenie Fernandes is also an illustrator and has illustrated numerous children's books including Wake Up, Groundhog! by Susan Korman and Everything Grows by Raffi. Kim Fernandes is one of the foremost three-dimensional illustrators. She wrote and illustated Zebo and the Dirty Planet and illustrated A Visit from St. Nicholas (Story by Clement C. Moore "Twas the night before Christmas"). She has also written a book called Gifts to Make with Crayola Model Magic.


Blogger Vegan Knitting said...

I love the idea of the Fimo art. Are you going to review Secret Seahorse soon? That sewn art is fantastic.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Ha! Yes, that's on my list!

9:19 PM  

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