3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Christmas Mouse by Mark Spencer is an illustrated children’s book that takes place in the stables on the night the Savior is born. A small mouse spreads the word to the animals of the Savior’s impending birth. Although the mouse is very excited, the other animals complain about the impact this event might have on them. The donkey worries he will lose his bed made of hay, the sheep thinks his wool might be sheared to clothe the baby, etc. When an angel appears and requests help, how will the farm animals respond?
Written completely in rhyme, the story creatively discusses one aspect of the first Christmas Eve. The mouse is a sweet character that children are sure to love. There are a variety of farm animals in the story, and each is described with a distinctive attribute - the goat’s milk, the sheep’s wool, the donkey’s hay, etc.
The main plot is easy to follow. Some parts of the story have a heavy religious tone, although other sections focus on the animals’ realistic responses to visitors coming to their habitat. Many of the word choices are too sophisticated for young children (harken, anointed, decree, ilk, etc.). It would have been helpful to include a glossary of the advanced words since I think kids would become confused by the language.
The author uses a formal rhyme scheme, with the second and fourth lines rhyming. The writing has a natural, lyrical style, and there are no instances of stilted phrasing in order to include a word that rhymes. One section has a nice refrain as each animal, in turn, wonders if they will be inconvenienced in specific ways. Kids usually like this plot device, where the same phrase or question is answered by different characters.
The story is illustrated beautifully by Polona Lovsin. Each set of four lines is well placed at the top of the pages, which allows the artwork to be showcased. What I loved most were the characters’ facial expressions, particularly those of the cute mouse. In additional to the story, there is a nice bonus section of crafts and other suggestions to keep the Christmas Mouse tradition alive during the holiday season.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The frequent use of advanced words kept me from awarding the highest rating to this heartwarming Christmas story. All ages would enjoy this book, although the rhyming text and picture book format is geared toward younger children.
the christmas mouse
View: on Bookshelves | on Barnes and Noble
Like bookowlie's review? Post a comment saying so!