Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary by Beverly Donofiro, illustrated by Barbara McClintock

Text Copyright © 2007 Beverly Donofrio
Illustrations copyright © 2007 Barbara McClintock

Mary is a little girl who resides in a large impressive house.  Mouse is a little girl mouse who inhabits a small house inside the large impressive house. The girls only dare to secretly wave to each other every day from their respective homes, Mary’s parents having warned her about mice and Mouse’s parent’s  having similarly cautioned her about humans. Despite these warnings, a bond develops between the two.  In beautiful detail, the book shows the parallels between Mary’s life and Mouse’s life: story time, family dinners, school.
As kids tend to do, Mary grows up and leaves home for college. Mouse grows up and similarly leaves home, but they never forget each other. 

Mary eventually has a daughter of her own, Maria, and they live in a large impressive house. Mouse also eventually has a daughter of her own, Mouse Mouse, and where do you think they live?  You guessed it, in a small house inside adult Mary and her family’s large impressive house. As did their mothers, this second generation of little girls live parallel lives.  However, unlike their mothers, Maria and Mouse Mouse one day eventually come face to face and greet each other. 

Donofrio has written a simple and charming tale that will become beloved by any kid to whom it is read, especially girls.  My little girl, as do most children, enjoys studying illustrations, and Mcclintock’s wonderfully detailed illustrations do not disappoint.   Of particular note is how Mcclintock has drawn the mouse house. Their home is furnished with items that were possibly discarded from the big house or possibly pilfered by the mice. A wristwatch is used as a clock; a scarf as a rug; an egg carton as a sofa; thread spools as furniture; postage stamps as wall art and the list goes on and on.  This type of attention to detail makes the difference between a book only being requested once a month or, as is the case with this book, being requested once a day by my daughter.  Comparing and contrasting the people house with the mouse house is just as important to her as hearing the text read aloud.  She finds something new each time we read Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary.

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