Smith's (the Bone series) crisply drafted style smoothly fuses graphic novel and picture book. Excited about Mama's invitation to go to the barn (“If we're good, Mama will let us swim in the cow's water!”), Little Mouse hurries to get ready to join his family. Every step of the getting dressed routine is closely examined (“Underpants are easy to put on...” says Little Mouse, wriggling into a tiny pair of briefs. “Just be sure to get your tail in the tail hole!”). He masters the technical problems of snaps and buttons, then discovers that in his excitement he's forgotten a vital fact: “mice don't wear clothes!” his mother reminds him. He's so shocked that his clothing bursts off him like fireworks. When he's unclothed, Little Mouse huddles like a furry creature, and when he's clothed, he stands on his own two feet—a useful visual metaphor for the oscillating feelings of independence younger children experience. The hero is an arresting blend of cute and tough, and his evident glee and determination will bolster the confidence of those who do have to wear clothing. Ages 4–up. (Sept.)
- Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Little Mouse's mother reminds him that it is time for him to get ready to go to the barn with the family. In a series of single page panels like those in a comic strip, Little Mouse talks in speech balloons about his preparations as he is getting dressed for fun in the barn. Like any youngster, he begins by putting on his underpants; he, however, must put his tail in the tail hole as well. Next come pants, socks, shoes, and finally, the shirt must be put on and buttoned. When he tells his mother that he is ready, however, in a touch of humor, he is reminded that mice do not wear clothes, and off they come. Each scene in this comic, a part of the "Toon Books" series designed for "newly-emerging readers," is clear in intent and execution. Little Mouse expresses his emotions in endearing ways youngsters can understand. A heavy black outline and naturalistic color exhibit our hero in action with no settings needed beyond the yellowish background. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–Little Mouse is eager to go to the barn with his mother. He slowly and methodically gets dressed, which is quite an accomplishment for the little guy, only to be reminded, in classic noodlehead fashion, that mice don’t wear clothes. Kids will love the idea that there were teeny tiny unnecessary clothes ready for him to put on, and that he forgets all the way through his struggles. The cartoon illustrations are large and uncomplicated without being babyish, and the punch line is preceded with places for knowing giggles.–Sarah Provence, Churchill Road Elementary School, McLean, VA
Move over, Froggy; Little Mouse is here to show the picture-book set how to get dressed. It's time to go to the barn; Little Mouse is excited, but first he must get ready. "Underpants are EASY to put on . . . / Just be sure to get your tail in the tail hole!" Socks, pants, boots and shirt with difficult buttons follow. Through it all, Little Mouse talks about all the fun things to do in the barn, like eating seeds and oats from the ground and swimming in the cow's water. Little Mouse is so proud of having dressed himself . . . until Mama comes back to ask what he's doing. She looks him over and says, "Well . . . mice don't wear clothes!" That literally knocks Little Mouse's socks (and everything else) off. With his first book for the very young, Smith, creator of the beloved and award-winning BONE graphic novels, adds another strong entry into Toon Book's fledgling series of hybrid comics/early readers. The big friendly panels in autumn pastels and the silly twist ending will have emergent readers going straight back to the first page over and over. (Graphic early reader. 3-6)
Jeff Smith was grew up in a small town in Ohio and he loved cartooning, but he never imagined all the places comics would take him. With the help of his wife, Vijaya, Jeff created, published, and sold his comic book BONE. Jeff hadn’t created BONE specifically for kids, but his fantastic tale of three cousins lost in a strange land appealed to all readers, including children, and it went on to sell millions of copies. BONE won multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards, and TIME called it one of the ten greatest graphic novels of all time. In 2008, Jeff’s work was the subject of a major museum exhibit at the Wexner Center Galleries in Columbus, Ohio. His other books include Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil and RASL. This is his first book created just for younger readers.