This celebration of the open road and the kindness of strangers comes as particularly salubrious at a time when the prevailing mood is to batten down the hatches. And the soft colors and somewhat misty look of the art are in keeping with the mood: daring yet protected
While Downing’s illustrations have an old-fashioned, dowdy feel, she reverses stereotypical images with her thoroughly modern casting: the old woman is black while the porter is white, and Downing follows Le Guin’s lead by dressing this already un-conventional businesswoman in casual, comfortable clothing rather than a staid suit. Told in four brief chapters, this tale of comradeship between two otherwise lonely globetrotters has an inviting freshness in its quiet telling.”—
A bit longer than most picture-book texts, this simply written story is told in four short chapters. The quiet dignity of the telling shows respect for its audience. The warm colors and softly shaded forms in Downing’s artwork create a series of appealing illustrations reflecting the story’s essential charm. This is one mouse tale without silliness or sentimentality
School Library Journal
A young mouse with an adventurous heart discovers the pleasures and challenges of travel, and the solace of companionship, when he hops aboard a cross-country train for a journey into the unknown.”—
Bulletin, Center for Children's Books
The story has some charm, the theme is age-appropriate, and the chapter breaks will make useful for sequential reading aloud or beginning readers. . . . Downing makes interesting use of mouse-level perspective in her huge and looming shapes. The reassuring primary palette keeps light instead of scary, and the generally cheerful demeanor of the main characters will reduce viewer anxiety about Tom’s fate. This gentle adventure may just suit an adult seeking a warm and fuzzy little readaloud.
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
The creators of A Ride on the Red Mare's Back here take readers on another diverting ride. Tempted by the travel tales of a hobo rat who rides the rails on boxcars, Tom Mouse leaves his home in a hole in the wall of a station diner and sneaks aboard a Chicago-bound train. Though Tom fully expects that any human passenger who spies him will shriek, he has the good fortune to end up in a roomette occupied by Ms. Powers, a kind woman not at all squeamish or averse to sharing her small space and her snacks of cookies and carrots with a mouse. Le Guin's smooth, chatty narrative will endear both characters to readers as it relays the cheerful woman's one-sided conversation along with her new pal's unspoken thoughts. And kids will warm to the story's conclusion, which hints at a lasting friendship between the two. Downing's softly focused, appealing art at times recalls the work of Jim LaMarche in its use of imaginative perspectives and close-up images of the friends: the mouse scurries through human feet as he boards the train, gazing out on Ms. Powers's legs through the vents in her closet door, and views the passing world through the cabin's windowpane. Given its relatively lengthy text, this charmer makes a fitting read-aloud for the picture book set or an ideal beginning reader.