Mouse Calls (Anne Marie Pace)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mouse Calls, written by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by Erin Kraan, a lovely mashup of wordplay and community support.

After a spotting a mighty storm over the sea with her spyglass, Mouse rushes off to inform the animal citizens of her coastal community. Mouse calls Moose, who calls Goose, who calls Dog and Hog and Hare. This haphazard game of telephone continues as the message of the storm spreads through the grapevine, and the artwork periodically checks in on the creatures as they gather in a cave for shelter. At last, when every last animal has found their way to safety, the friends band together to thank Mouse for her courage and consideration.

Heartwarming fun. The bouncy, rhythmic text is based entirely on fun wordplay surrounding the names of animal species, pairing unexpected characters like Loon and Raccoon, or Kangaroo and Caribou, and it’s a delight to read aloud. It pairs well with Kraan’s charmingly quirky illustrations, which fill each character with personality by way of their wardrobe or hobbies. The repeating visual of the cave filling up with the neighbor animals is wonderful, and it’s fun to pick out all the animals the reader has met so far and see how they are interacting. Furthermore, the ending ties together on a nice message of community banding together in times of trouble and taking care of one another. The length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both loved this one. A delightful must-read that bookworms of any age can enjoy, abd it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to the Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Groundhug Day (Anne Marie Pace)

Hello friends, and Happy Groundhog Day! To celebrate, we read Groundhug Day, written by Anne Marie Pace and illustrated by Christopher Denise, a delightful tale of five animal friends.

Bunny, Squirrel and Porcupine are all over at Moose’s house, helping prepare for the latter’s big Valentine’s Day party in two weeks. Moose is excited to have absolutely everyone over, until Bunny points out a slight hiccup: tomorrow is February 2nd, and if Groundhog comes out of his hole and sees his shadow, he’ll go back to sleep for six more weeks, missing the party entirely! The four friends try to quickly come up with a plan to spare him from seeing it, but they get distracted planning, and don’t realize they’ve talked through the night – and the sun just came up. Finding that Groundhog has already retreated back into his hole, the friends surmise that he hides from his shadow because he is afraid of it. They invite him on a day of shadow-related fun to help him, and Groundhog ventures out to enjoy the festivities. The others are sure they have cured him of his fear… only to find that he was never afraid at all (he just doesn’t like the cold). Promising his friends that he’ll be at the party in spirit, they celebrate the rest of “Groundhug Day”, and let the furry fellow get back to his nap.

Very cute! I loved the combination of the the two holidays; it makes this book perfect for a beginning-of-February read. And within the sweet and jovial story, there’s some nice lessons about friendship – especially that sometimes, friends have their own things going on, and can’t always do the things you want to do. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, or are any less your friend. It’s a smart lesson told in a fun way, and wrapped up with some adorably warm, personality-filled illustrations. The length is good, and JJ enjoyed it a lot! A fun way to kick off February, and Baby Bookworm approved!