Review of Charlie & Mouse Even Better

Charlie & Mouse Even Better
by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes
Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.
5/19    978-1-4521-7065-7    $14.99

This third Charlie & Mouse picture book/easy reader hybrid (Charlie & Mouse, rev. 7/17; Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy, rev. 11/17) shines the spotlight on Mom’s approaching birthday. The first chapter sets the scene, with the siblings “helping” her make pancakes. A glance at the calendar at the start of chapter two reminds Dad of Mom’s special day, and he and the kids go shopping for the perfect present (“Does Mom like tape?” “Everyone likes tape”). Back home, party preparations humorously go awry — think burnt cake and floor-strewn glitter. But with some quick thinking by Charlie, who was paying attention to how to make pancakes, and with Mouse at maximum cuteness to distract Mom, the surprise party happily comes to fruition. Hughes’s graphite and Photoshop illustrations convey lots of affection for this relatable family, including its everyday harried moments. (The kids regarding their mother’s attempt at a dragon-shaped pancake: “It does not look like a dragon.” Mom: “It is a dragon that annoyed its mother.”) The brief, easy-to-read chapters and child-friendly perspective continue the appeal for Charlie & Mouse fans.

From the May/June 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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