Morty Mouse is one vain little mouse. He’s always gazing at himself in the mirror and saying “look at me” to his friends instead of “good morning.” He’s that kind of mouse. In this amusing story by Kathryn J. Wood, Morty slowly learns that true friendship is born of support and kindness, not jealousy and self-involvement.
One morning, Morty heads out into the world looking for praise. Carrying his long, pink tail over his arm so it doesn’t get dirty, he runs into a huge black beetle with dark, hairy legs. He asks for a compliment, and the beetle tells him he looks OK, then adds, “but I have a hard shiny black back…and I can fly.” Morty then meets Miss Dragonfly. She tells him it’s not that he looks bad, it’s just that she looks much better – and she can fly. Morty soon discovers that even old Mrs. Ladybird can fly.
Despondent, he tries to learn to fly with the help of his friend Robin, but that experiment ends in muddy and humiliating disaster. Only the friendly and helpful bat Bertie has an ingenious way of helping a mouse fly, and soon Morty is in the air!
Wood has written a warm and nicely crafted picture book for toddlers. With perfectly tuned repetition and bright good humor, she deftly captures complex emotional terrain with a light and thoughtful touch. Gil Balbuena’s cartoon-like illustrations are vibrant and fun. Less text per page would help the rhythm of the story. That said, one looks forward to meeting Morty Mouse again.