“I think mice Are rather nice. Their tails are long, Their faces small, They haven’t any Chins at all. Their ears are pink, Their teeth are white, They run about The house at night. They nibble things They shouldn’t touch And no one seems To like them much. But I think mice Are nice.”
I, myself am no big fan of mice, but I absolutely love this exceptional new picture book built around a poem that has been part of my life for ages.
Back when I studied early childhood education, my mentor, the late Terri Isaacs, had us each purchase a big package of 5x8 index cards and a recipe box to hold them. Then, individually, we made trips to the library all semester in order to read lots of children’s poetry collections and anthologies, and copy those poems we really liked and the accompanying bibliographic information onto the cards. Then, we were ordered to go out into the world and forever make reading a poem aloud part of every circle time we led. The card with this poem -- which I found, back then, in the RANDOM HOUSE BOOK OF POETRY FOR CHILDREN (1983) -- is one of the most well-worn cards in my poetry box.
The whimsical collages of two mischievous mice with which Lois Ehlert illustrates this poem are priceless. With heads and bodies crafted from triangular pieces of handmade paper, the duo sport round florescent pink ears and big white teeth. With limbs made of string knotted at the wrists and ankles and unraveling at the hands and feet; and big eyes that are a total crackup; Ehlert is able to position the limbs and eyes in each illustration so as to make the two mice incredibly expressive.
Causing havoc with art supplies and tools; messing with lipstick, a tooth brush, and a roll of dental floss; and then getting into cupcakes, produce, crackers, and cereal; the little buggers eventually scamper home through their hidey hole (for which the page is cut), evading the house’s cat. A solid black background throughout the book causes the illustrations to jump out at us while showing us that these antics are taking place in the middle of the night. What a treat! 40 pages
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS
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