Anyone who has spent time around young children understands full well what an enormous amount of pride they take in dressing themselves. Often times their attempts are more comical than successful, but that doesn’t make it any less important to them. And when they do manage to actually clothe themselves, they usually can’t help but tell the world about their accomplishment.
Little Mouse Gets Ready is an homage to all the little ones everywhere who have ever successfully put on their own clothes. When Little Mouse’s mother informs him it’s time to get prepared for a trip to the barn, he begins to get dressed, one step at a time. It’s adorable to watch his methodical process and see his confidence build along the way. Finally, Little Mouse’s efforts pay off and he’s all ready to go, only to discover… Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but the ending has an unexpected twist that kids will find laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Jeff Smith’s airy, adorable artwork is both capricious and playful, perfectly capturing the essence of childhood. There is little background detail, with the primary focus being on the mouse, which is in tune with the fairly egocentric view of the world most youngsters hold. Smith has a seemingly effortless ability to subtlety support the vocabulary he chooses with his drawings. That is, Little Mouse’s play-by-play monologue of getting dressed is coupled perfectly with fitting illustrations that demonstrate what he is describing, which is helpful for beginning readers to better visualize the words on the pages.
As with every release by publisher Toon Books, Little Mouse Gets Ready’s production values are striking. With a sturdy hardback binding and thick paper stock, the book should have little trouble withstanding being frequently handled by little readers. And, if my four-year-old son is any example, kids will definitely want to read the book repeatedly. It has become a frequent bedtime story request in our home, and my son gave me the following instructions: “Dad, you have to give the mouse book a good review. It’s funny!”
So, in accordance with my son’s strict directions, I wholeheartedly recommend Little Mouse Gets Ready. It is a lovely little book sure to please beginning readers and adults alike, making it a wise selection for parents, teachers, and librarians. Though the story’s protagonist may be a rodent, kids will identify with him immediately and be able picture themselves in the same situation, down to the challenge that comes from their tiny fingers attempting to button a shirt.