Skip to main content

The Bookstore Mouse by Peggy Christian, illustrated by Gary Lippincott 134pp RL4

The Bookstore Mouse is an entertaining story, sort of a cross between Inkheart, by Conrelia Funke and the Redwall Series by Brain Jacques. Cervantes the mouse lives behind a wall of words, encyclopedias to be exact, in an antiquarian bookstore along with Milo (a nod to The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster?) the cat. When Milo isn't sleeping, he's tormenting Cervantes. Not knowing how to read, he has nothing else to do. When Cervantes isn't fleeing from Milo, he is eating his way through a book of recipes from around the world and reading. One day, Milo succeeds in disrupting Cervantes' world and sends him scampering to a new section of the bookstore where he finds a very special book that he literally falls into.

Once in the story, Cervantes realizes that he is in the middle ages and has fallen into a scriptorium where scribes do their copy work. Cervantes befriends Sigfried, a young man who definitely does not have a way with words, and helps him to decode a mysterious note. The note leads them to borrow a suit of armor and a horse so they help the villagers rescue a group of troubadours from Censor the dragon. Censor is determined to capture all the troubadours, steal their stories of dragon slayers from them and retell all the stories so that the dragon is always victorious.

The wordplay throughout the book is very clever and there is very high vocabulary sprinkled throughout in a playful. You do not always need to know the meanings of the big words to understand the story. The story ends nicely with a truce between Cervantes and Milo that involves the retelling and sharing of stories. Definitely a book for a book lover.

If your child enjoys this book, I suggest The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer and Barrel of Laughs: A Vale of Tears, written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. Both involve some wickedly funny wordplay as well as wonderful, fairy tale like storytelling. Also, if your daughter enjoyed this book, I suggest The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley, which also involves a story within a story. And, for a fun short read and a gentle introduction to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, I recommend The Mouse of Amherst.

And, similar to Brian Jacques' Redwall books (ie: filled with various rodents in a quasi-medieval setting) is the Mistmantle series by MI McAllister, the first book of which is Urchin of the Riding Stars.


Popular posts from this blog

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret) The Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!