Dark at the Top of the Stairs

Dark at the Top of the Stairs

4.5 2
by Sam McBratney, Ivan Bates
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

An old wise mouse warns his three young mice of the danger that lurks at the top of the cellar stairs, yet they insist on seeing it for themselves. Step by step, they climb up to the dark shadows. . . . Sam McBratney's suspenseful tale will have children shrieking and grinning by turns. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 4-7. Pub: 1/98.  See more details below

Overview

An old wise mouse warns his three young mice of the danger that lurks at the top of the cellar stairs, yet they insist on seeing it for themselves. Step by step, they climb up to the dark shadows. . . . Sam McBratney's suspenseful tale will have children shrieking and grinning by turns. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 4-7. Pub: 1/98.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Three young mice brave the monster (that is, the cat) who lives in the dark at the top of the stairs. "Perfectly captur[es] the edgy glee and derring-do of a trip to dangerous territory," said PW. Ages 4-up. (Jan.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-McBratney follows up his cozy, warm Guess How Much I Love You (Candlewick, 1995) with a real change of mood. Though their wise old mentor tries to entice them outdoors to play, three young mice insist on seeing what lives behind the dark at the top of the stairs. Its single word-"MEOW"-sends them "bumpety-bump and slippity-slide and tumble-thump" all the way back down. Bates gives readers a mouse's-eye view of the adventure: topped by a towering door, the huge stairs loom above a shadowed, cobwebby, cluttered cellar lit in dim, ominous blues and grays. Like Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's We're Going on a Bear Hunt (McElderry, 1989), this book invites youngsters to venture out into the unknown, offering the reassurance of a haven at the end, and the exhilaration of a mad scramble to get there.-John Peters, New York Public Library
Carolyn Phelan
A wise old mouse tucks his three little mice into bed and asks what they would like to do the next day. They insist that they want to go to the dark at the top of the stairs to see the monster there. Although the old mouse suggests a visit to the cornfield or a swing on the grass seed-heads, the little mice will not be dissuaded. The next morning they begin their trek up the cellar stairs, but one look at the monster and the sound of one soft "MEOW" send them bumping, thumping, and sliding back home. From the cozy scenes of the mice safe in bed to their dramatic climb up the steep stairs to the climactic moment when they see the cat (shown here only in shadow), the dramatically shaded full-color illustrations show a great sense of atmosphere, perspective, and humor. As appealing as the artwork is the simple text, which begs to be read aloud. Just scary enough to please the story hour crowd.
Kirkus Reviews
In this book, McBratney (Guess How Much I Love You, 1995, not reviewed, etc.) has crystallized every single detail into part of a winning formula. There is little story: Three mice—Cob, Hazel, and Berry-Berry—tell an older, wiser mouse that they would like to go see the monster at the top of the cellar stair. He is understanding and allows them to recover from their journey, during which they were terrified by the sight of the cat's shadow, without comment. The narrative is comic and catchy, with all the dialogue arranged with flawless symmetry. It is set against dramatic crayon pencil illustrations, in which everything is depicted from the perspective of the mice (a door looms like a skyscraper). In his first book, Bates chooses a palette of dark purples, browns, and ambers; the mice seem sculpted from the gloom of the cellar.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564026408
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
03/07/1996
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.57(w) x 12.21(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Dark at the Top of the Stairs 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a cute and catchy book, and the students in my class love it. They will sit entranced as it is read, and always laugh as the little ones tumble back down the stairs! Beautiful art work.