Charlie and Mouse

by Laurel Snyder

Publishers Weekly In four ebullient linked stories, Snyder (Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova) and Hughes (A Brave Bear) introduce the two eponymous brothers and their down-to-earth family. "I am a mom," says Mom when she refuses to come out from under the covers early one morning. "I can do what I want." From there, readers follow along as Charlie and Mouse organize an impromptu party at a playground, try to make money selling rocks (a nifty twist makes this the best story in the book), and try to postpone bedtime as long as possible. "We cannot go to sleep without a bedtime banana," says Mouse, backing up Charlie. It's a friendly, hang-loose world: the boys share a bed, Mouse dons a tutu for the playground party, and the customers for the boys' rock-selling business include a gay couple, Mr. Erik and Mr. Michael. The emphasis on dialogue gives the stories the immediacy of a play script, and Hughes's easygoing vignettes add just the right amount of visual punctuation. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. Illustrator's agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 2-This early reader series opener offers likable characters but an underdeveloped story. Charlie and Mouse are brothers with loving parents and a diverse group of friends and neighbors. They take part in simple childhood pastimes: a neighborhood party, a money-making plan, a bedtime snack. They do everything together, from the moment they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep in the same bed at night. Snyder infuses each tale with humor, and young readers will enjoy illustrator Hughes's depictions of each character, especially the facial expressions. Repetitive language supports emergent readers looking to try chapter books. However, the first two chapters fly by without giving readers the opportunity to get to know the characters better. Early events don't always make sense; for example, there's no clear reason why the characters have a neighborhood party, and it seems anticlimactic. Charlie and Mouse appear to get along exceptionally well for two young siblings, which doesn't feel particularly realistic. The last two chapters are much more fleshed out, and readers who have taken to Charlie and Mouse will most certainly look forward to the next book in the series. VERDICT Early reader collections will benefit from this new series, especially if future volumes incorporate stronger storytelling.-Casey O'Leary, Mooresville Public Library, IN © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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