In the first book of his The Adventures of Bibole, Rivol & Michelle series, Brian Fujikawa introduces young readers to a mouse family and their animal friends. Bibole, the son of Rivol and Michelle, joins Marcel the Skunk, Bonnie the Bunny, and asthmatic Herman (a timid, sickly mouse half the size of Bibole) playing tag in the forest.
When they find a human girl named Daisy Kay crying near the brook, the animals learn she is lonely for playmates. They soon make friends, and adventurous Bibole bravely takes a ride on her shoulder. With a full moon expected that night, the animals and Daisy Kay run home to their parents. All forest dwellers have been warned of a big, hairy monster that emerges when the moon is full.
The monster, described as a weremouse by Bibole’s parents, raids refrigerators and becomes violent when told to go home. The weremouse’s identity is hardly a secret: Bibole’s parents reveal that it’s timid Herman, who is transformed into a menace by evil rats every time the moon is full.
The story may be a bit frightening for young children (parents will want to gauge their child’s individual tolerance level beforehand), and it’s questionable what message the author is ultimately trying to convey. In addition, the text is rather dense for a picture book: full pages of text (including some higher level words, such as “inhaler,” “asthmatic,” “galoshes,” and “illuminated”) may intimidate children attempting to read this book by themselves.
But many young children should enjoy having their parents read this story to them, and the charming, full-page color illustrations by Cleoward Sy and Gil Balbuena Jr. serve to enhance the experience.
Also available as an e-book.