Review of Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse
by Jane Godwin; illus. by Blanca Gómez
Preschool    Dial    40 pp.    g
8/19    978-0-525-55381-6    $16.99

“Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” A small mouse packs her even smaller suitcase and embarks on a journey — on bikes and trains and buses; up in the air and under the sea; through garden beds and city streets; and finally home again. Double-page spreads, packed with detail and action and color, follow her on her travels; the scenes are seemingly unrelated, but all include, somewhere on the page, the little mouse (and her suitcase!) for viewers to find. The text is jaunty and interactive: “Ice cream / that’s smooth / And ice cream / that’s spotted. / Would you like the white one / or the one that’s dotted?” This spread — depicting a girl holding one plain-vanilla cone and another with sprinkles — is one of the few containing minimal detail and in which the mouse is easy to find. In most of the illustrations, there’s so much else to look at and the mouse is so tiny that readers might forget to look for her. Fortunately, the book concludes with “Colors on a / sunny street— / what’s your favorite house? / Is it red or blue or green… / and did you spot that mouse?” Anyone who lost track can then turn back to the beginning and — very happily — start all over again. A cheerful there-and-back-again adventure — that’s also an excellent color-concept book — perfectly aimed at the very youngest.

From the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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