Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Happiness is...a good book (Summer Reading edition #28)

Mouse Paint
Author and Illustrator: Ellen Stoll Walsh
Published: 1989
Pages: 32
Age Range: 2+
Genre: Fiction/Picture Book
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ****
Rating: G

First sentence: Once there were three white mice on a white piece of paper.

The clever mice are able to blend into their surroundings and are safe from the cat that lurks nearby. One day they find 3 jars of paint-red, yellow, and blue and you can imagine what happens next. They climb right in and no longer are white mice. Then they spill paint out onto their paper creating puddles that they jump into and stir around with their feet discovering the secondary colors made by mixing. As the paint dries their fur gets sticky and stiff so they wash themselves off in the cat dish until they are white again and resort to painting the paper. But they leave a corner of it white “because of the cat.”

Simple text, but the kids love trying to guess what the colors are going to be. Even better if you have your own paints or jars of colored water or something that you can mix together so they can see it happen for themselves.

Walsh’s illustrations are done in torn paper collage giving it depth and texture, the illustrations are small, set off by a thick black outline around the top ½ of the page, the text below it. The mice are more realistic than most illustrations, with their white fur, pink feet, tails and ears and red eyes. This pairs nicely with any of the multitude of picture books featuring mice characters such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry...., and Mouse Mess.

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