In Marion Heffernan’s children’s picture book, a mouse leaves his comfy home in a barn, determined to seek adventure.
One night when feeling bored, Little Mouse packs his belongings and decides to become a “great adventurer.” Walking down the farm road, he leaves behind the barn creatures: owls, bats, and a big farm cat. Suddenly, a toad pops out, and Little Mouse shakes in terror until the toad explains he only wants to eat a nearby slug. Then Little Mouse narrowly misses being crushed by crates falling from a big truck. When he learns that the delivery men are bound for the circus, he discreetly hops a ride, determined to learn what a circus is.
Little Mouse is awed by the sights of people, tents, and caravans. Then a lion’s roar startles him, and he rejects the lion’s invitation to come into his cage. The pattern continues with several animals scaring Little Mouse and him scurrying on. At day’s end, he’s ready to go “Back where ‘his friends’ [sic] would do him no harm…”
Heffernan has skillfully written the story in rhyming quatrains, and despite the occasional awkward syntax, readers will appreciate the bouncy, musical lines: “Such an adventure for a tiny wee mouse,/ Who hardly ever left his house./ The animals he’d seen, the sounds and the sights/ Lit up the skies on this dark night.” Unfortunately, many grammatical errors mar the text. Additionally, the colorful illustrations vary largely in quality.
The book’s audience is also questionable. The author recommends her story for four-to-eight year olds, which covers a wide range of reading abilities. The simple plot is best suited for read-alouds to the youngest, but at 42 pages, attention spans may flag. And while the length is fine for older readers, the plot doesn’t match their more sophisticated reading and comprehension levels.
Such issues may limit the book’s appeal. Nonetheless, Heffernan has delivered a relatable, sympathetic protagonist, and rhymes that youngsters will enjoy.
Also available as an ebook.