Christine Rotsaert’s picture book tells the story of how two characters from fairy families —a cherry and a mouse—fall in love and start a family of “cherry mouse babies.”
Weefeefee is a fairy mouse with lots of heart—literally: His ears and eyes are heart-shaped, “and his tail was attached to a heart at the end.” His real heart beats with affection for his many friends who live in the valley with him – the squirrels, tigers, birds and more.
When the annual Happy Feet Dance Celebration comes around, creatures journey from far and wide to participate. There, Weefeefee meets the cherry fairy Leebeebee, and they fall in love. Before you can say Weefeefee three times fast, the happy couple is surrounded by a brood of cherry mouse babies who live joyfully ever after in the happy valley.
While this story has some simple charm, it will have readers puzzling over several questions: Why is the valley described as “green-aqua” when the illustrations show a simple green foreground? If Leebeebee and Weefeefee are fairies, why aren’t they and their children depicted with fairy wings? (The story says that “Leebeebee and her parents flew about half a day to reach the green aqua valley.”) And why is the front cover illustrated as if it were a wrapped gift?
There are so many diverse elements included (fairies, fruit characters, heart-shaped body parts, animal-shaped clouds) that the story can feel crowded. Even the character names become daunting: In addition to Weefeefee and Leebeebee, there’s Mama Applericoe (who is an apple) and Papa Grapedeo, (who is a grape), as well as the cherry mouse children, Baby Weeweelee, Baby Weeleelee, Baby Weefeebee, Baby Weebeefee and Baby Weebeebee.
Kathy Kerber’s illustrations are vibrant and active, and the end of the book features pages for coloring, which children will enjoy. Overall, however, the story requires some simplification and more internal logic before it can appeal to a wide audience.
Also available as an ebook.