By now, everyone knows Daniel Kirk (brother of Miss Spider's creator, David Kirk) for his Library Mouse books. But, we have been fans of Kirk's in my house since we first read Chuga-Chuga Choo-Choo, which Kirk illustrated and Kevin Lewis wrote, about ten years ago. Block City, an illustrated version of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, is another visual treat of a book, filled with familiar toys just like Chuga-Chuga Choo-Choo. Our favorite, though, is GO!, which was released in 2001 and is currently out of print. GO!,was a collection of brightly illustrated poem/songs that came with a CD of Kirk performing the tunes! We were so excited when we realized we could SING Chuga-Chuga Choo-Choo! There are some classics (Wheels on the Bus, Bicycle Built for Two) but my favorite song in the book has to be Ice Cream Truck!
With Library Mouse, we are introduced to Sam, a shy bibliophile who loves to read and decides to write his own book. When his books are discovered by the children in the library, they all wonder who this great new author/illustrator Sam could be. The kids invite him to author day. Sam gets around this potential disaster in a very clever way - he puts a mirror in the bottom of a tissue box and invites the kids to look inside to "meet the author." When they see themselves, they are all inspired to write their own books. Sam is found out in Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale, but Tom isn't spilling the beans. Together the two team up to write a great new book.
In Library Mouse: A World to Explore, Sam meets Sarah, a daring mouse from the other side of the stacks. Sam prefers to research and write about exploration while Sarah likes to jump right in and do it.
Sam wants to be brave and explore with Sarah, but he is so nervous that an unexpected adventure in a toy airplane sends him scurrying back to his home. Sam hides behind his bed and, when his heart stops pounding, he picks up his pencil and gets to work on his next book. "Readers and writers are explorers, too," Sam says to himself.
When Sarah sees the book she is impressed and says, "We're both a couple of explorers!" Sam responds, "And we never even had to leave the library!"
"We didn't have to leave the library," Sarah says with a twinkle in her eye, "but just think of the book you could write if you really got to see the world! What do you say to a little research trip?"
I love that ending! It gives the story a little depth, Sam starts to push the envelope or at least think about it, and Sarah gets to be the cool, brave girl who takes big leaps!