Review of The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back

The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back The Mouse Who Carried a House on His Back
by Jonathan Stutzman; illus. by Isabelle Arsenault
Preschool    Candlewick    48 pp.    g
8/22    978-1-5362-1679-0    $18.99

Vincent is a peripatetic mouse who carries a small house, in the form of a die-cut hole, on his back. He temporarily settles atop a small hill, where he knows “he needed to be.” When a series of animals—a bullfrog, a cat, hedgehogs, badgers, etc.—appear, all needing a place to stay, they can’t believe they’ll fit in Vincent’s house. But it turns out that the small house is bigger on the inside; better yet, it keeps expanding. As each new animal moves in, a new house appears on the hillside, reinforcing the sense of community and spaciousness; readers are eventually treated to a delightful double gatefold revealing an entire neighborhood of symbolic homes, each one somewhat resembling the creature it represents. After an indoor feast, a bear appears. The other residents recoil in fear, but Vincent declares, “In my house, all animals are welcome.” Stutzman’s text possesses a subtle humor, including the use of the phrase “one by one by one by one by one by one by one” to refer to the number of creatures who seek shelter. Arsenault’s textured illustrations, filled with rewarding visual details and surprises at nearly every page-turn, bring to life the snug interior world of Vincent’s home. A warm, welcome, and satisfying read.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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