Elem. – Mina

Forsythe, Matthew. Mina. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. Unpaged. 978-1-481-48041-3. $17.99. Grades K-2.

Mina is a young mouse who loves solitary pursuits like reading and drawing. She and her father live in a comfortable mouse hole in a “piece of wood.” He likes to surprise her by bringing home guests, which causes Mina some anxiety. After all, the last visitors were stick insects who stole all her books. This time her dad brings home an unusual looking squirrel, and his daughter has her own idea about the identity of the animal. He tells her not to worry, but does become concerned when the creature stops eating. His solution is to bring home two more “squirrels” to keep it company. When this does not help, they call the doctor who quickly figures out that the problem is that “…these squirrels are definitely cats.” This diagnosis leads to panic and a chase. Will the assistance from a surprising source be enough to allow the trio to survive? The author also has created the whimsical drawings done in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil. Mina is simply adorable, and the illustrations are a joy to see. 

THOUGHTS: Children will enjoy this story, which is a perfect read aloud. There surely will be a lot of laughs and a chorus of “Oh, no’s” as young readers listen to this tale of a smart little mouse and her hapless father. Elementary librarians will not want to miss this one.

Picture Book          Denise Medwick, Retired, PSLA Member

Elem. – Cornbread & Poppy

Cordell, Matthew. Cornbread & Poppy. Little, Brown and Company, 2022. 978-0-759-55486-3. 80 p. $6.99. Grades K-2.

Two mice who are the very best of friends have a real adventure in this charming chapter book! Cornbread is a planner. He is ready for the first snowfall, and his well-stocked larder is full of delicious fruit preserves, grains, and cheeses. Poppy is more carefree. She loves to hike, ride bikes, and go on adventures. Despite Cornbread’s reminders, she has put off foraging until it is all but too late. Cornbread can’t let his best friend go hungry, so he agrees to accompany Poppy up Holler Mountain in search of food for the long winter. But Holler Mountain is a scary place, with steep hills, snow, and predatory owls! Matthew Cordell’s irresistible illustrations, in pen and ink with cool watercolors, bring humor and gentle thrills to the little friends’ big excursion.

THOUGHTS: Both a friendship tale and a mild adventure story, Cornbread & Poppy is a book to read over and over again for the sweet scenes and special details. 

Chapter Book          Amy V. Pickett, Ridley SD

Elem. – Mistletoe

Hills, Tad. Mistletoe. Schwartz & Wade Books, 2020. 978-0-593-17442-5. $17.99. Unpaged. Grades PreK-1. 

“Mistletoe” falls in with my favorite themes for holiday stories: friendship, homemade gifts, and kindness. Mistletoe the mouse loves chilly mornings, knitting, and her pal Norwell. Norwell the elephant loves cozy fires, decorating for Christmas, and his pal Mistletoe. Mistletoe tries to convince Norwell that strolling through the snow and catching snowflakes on your tongue is a delightful way to spend the day, but Norwell seems cold just looking outside.  The solution for these friends? A thoughtful friend, some quick knitting needles, and an extra-extra-extra large elephant sized snowsuit. In typical Tad Hills fashion, the story is warm and enjoyable just like the illustrations.

THOUGHTS: Fans of Hills’s Rocket or Duck and Goose will love Mistletoe the mouse, but any young reader with a dash of Christmas spirit will enjoy this sweet story.

Picture Book          Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD