Does anyone else start reading a book by flipping to the author info page at the back to learn about a new writer? Because I do. Finding a way to connect with the author – from things we like to do to places we live – is part of my reader identity. This may be why I struggle to engage in ebooks…but that’s another post.
Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes
In Charlie & Mouse, the author page didn’t disappoint. Laurel Snyder lives in my childhood hometown of Atlanta, GA (though I’d love to ask her, “where in Atlanta?”, as GA folk usually live in a suburb – for me, Marietta). Even better, Emily Hughes is down the road from my new home in London on the shores of Brighton. These blurbs hooked me. Even better was the story they created together.
Siblings Charlie and Mouse star in four short, illustrated chapters showcasing an ideal life as a kid. From waking up Mom in the early morning to conjuring up a plan to earn money to interacting with neighbors, these brothers are exactly what young readers need: a breath of reality in an overstimulating world. Snyder makes some lovely, forward-thinking choices in characterization: Mouse chooses to wear a pink tutu, their couple next door are Mr. Eric & Mr. Michael, and the boys themselves are mixed-race. These choices, though, are noticed almost as an afterthought, as the story’s engaging plot line and characterization are strong. Add in the full-color illustrations from Emily Hughes and this story is a winner for sharing as a read-aloud or independent reading. The boys truly shine with the addition of their grandfather in the sequel, Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy. Two worthy additions to the newly-expanding transitional reader market, this is a must-purchase for all libraries. Share with ages 4-10.
Charlie & Mouse releases April 11, 2017. Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy releases October 3, 2017.
Two of the previewed titles at 2017 London Book Fair at the Chronicle/Abrams booth.
Cheers, y’all! 🙂 arika