Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: A & U Children
When this fabulous offering arrived in my package on Thursday I immediately knew that Small and I would love it – both being mouse aficionados (today we went shopping for a new little mouse – now called Mousey Two, in honour of a lately departed dear friend). I restrained myself nobly from reading it until last night’s sleepover so that we could both explore it together.
What a wonderful experience we shared! From the stunning endpapers of the interiors of mouse circus caravans to each wonderful illustration – the ooohs and aahhhs gained momentum with a climatic gasp of wonder at the amazing fold out centre pages with a detailed view of the interior and exterior busyness of the Circus Roberti big top.
No doubt some of you will be already familiar with the first two books but I had only briefly glimpsed the second – Sam and Julia at the Theatre – and am now completely and utterly hooked.
Julia and Sam both live in the Mouse Mansion – with many other families. They are the best of friends and like so many others, complement each other’s personalities. When the Circus Roberti comes to town, the Ringmaster needs someone to sew and cook for the circus’ summer season. Julia’s mum applies for the job successfully and she and Julia set off on a circus adventure that brings a wealth of new experiences for them both. Julia misses Sam very much but they write letters to each other so that each knows all about the other’s daily life.
Essentially an illustrated chapter book in picture book format, this is a true joy and readers will spend many happy hours poring over each page finding all the miniature marvels within. To understand the context of these books and their setting, you must find out more about Karina Schaapman and the Mouse Mansion. If, like me, you are especially fond of dollhouses, miniatures and the like – and mice – your instant thought will be ‘I want one!’ and the next thought might be – ‘How can we build our own?’.
A full page at the end describes Karina’s creation of the Mouse Mansion faced by a full-page illustration of this wondrous 3 metre high dwelling – do spend some time to investigate, I know you won’t regret it!
Small and I LOVE this immensely and I know we will continue to explore it’s delightful presentation with rapt scrutiny. I will not be at all surprised if we are reading it again tonight!