Saturday, March 8, 2014

Little Mouse by Alison Murray

Little Mouse by Alison Murray

Rating: 5 stars

I usually write before the sun comes up.  I write before my kids wake up.  Therefore, I am often sipping coffee and paging through a children's book all by myself at 5:15 AM before reviewing it.  That's exactly what I'm doing right now--with a snoring dog curled up beside me on the couch, laptop on my lap, Little Mouse over the keyboard, coffee just an arm's length away, balanced on another book on the arm of the couch.

As I page through this beautifully written and illustrated book, I think what a quiet masterpiece it is.

On the first page, a little girl sits nice and close to her mother, reading a book with her.  The words: "Sometimes, when I'm being quiet and cuddly, my mommy calls me her little mouse."

I don't really sound like a little mouse...
Trumpety, trump, trump! Too-wit, too-wit, too-woooot!
Yowly, howly, howl!
But the little girl doesn't feel like a little mouse...  She is TALL! (And we see a giraffe sweetly nibbling at the little girl, who is tall on the top of a staircase.  She is STRONG! (We see her straining to pull a small wagon, in the shadow and in the same pose of a mighty bull.)  She chomps her food like a hungry horse, roars bravely like a lion, makes all sorts of interesting sounds like an elephant, owl, and fox. She stomps like a grumpy bear, makes waves like a whale.

But at bedtime, she's happy to be "quiet and cozy, cuddly and dozy"...  just Mommy's little mouse.

I love how one little girl, in a single day, can be so many different animals in her imagination and through her moods and actions.  Kids are so multifaceted and colorful and creative and BIG in such great ways!  I hope with all my heart that your kids and my kids don't get their colorful-ness and BIG-ness diluted as they figure out the tween and teenage years...I hope they realize they can still be brave like a lion and still want to be quiet and cozy like a little mouse (preferably with their mother).

As I sit in this quiet, the last image definitely pulls at my heart.  My two boys are young and still usually need that last tuck-in to be from their mother.  But Lorelei is old enough that she's more like the other animals, and doesn't need a daily dose of her mother, doesn't need to be curled up in my lap.  She still does fit in my lap, though, and I'm grateful for that and for her wanting to be there a few times each week.  I know I'm supposed to be preparing her (and her brothers) to soar on their own like a bird and march to their own beat proudly like an elephant but...I'll miss the cuddly, mousey days a whole lot.  So I'll savor the mousey moments like crazy now.

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