CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 5 . . . . October 5, 2012
Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman’s second children’s book together introduces readers to Miss Mousie, a somewhat self-conscious protagonist looking for love. At first, Miss Mousie is quite taken with Matt LaBatt, but, when he makes an offensive offhand comment about her at the local deli, she feels rejected and hides herself away at home. Luckily, an anonymous date request gives Miss Mousie just enough confidence to check out her prospect, though in a disguise, and she finds Mr. Mole, the deli-owner, also playing dress-up to try to impress her. Miss Mousie’s Blind Date is a timeless tale about inner beauty and having the confidence to be the real you. If you do, the story suggests that you will attract people like you.
While I do appreciate the message, the constant references to Miss Mousie’s being “fat” and, therefore, unlovable, or “a cause for laughter”, is unnerving. The focus on her weight is much more prominent than the one sentence moral of “If you’ll be you, then I’ll be me” at the end. That being said, Miss Mousie’s Blind Date is an adorable story of mouse love, with a quirky, dramatic main character that children will find funny. Miss Mousie is clumsy and insecure, but she has a big heart and an even bigger personality. The sentence structure is wonderful with smooth rhymes to be found within the sentences as well as at the end. The story rolls off the tongue, and is not too complex, or too long, to engage a child from start to finish.
Berman’s illustrations are adorable, in a classic muted colour scheme style reminiscent of Frog and Toad. There is a lot to look at in each image, and the illustrations help add visual support to the story being told. There are some longer blocks of text, and the illustrations help give focus to these pages.
I believe children will appreciate the whole package this story offers. Matt LaBatt may never get his comeuppance, but that is realistic, and our sense of justice is satisfied with the ultimate love connection. The moral may not be as well articulated as it is in many children's stories, but at least it inspires discussion.
Amber Allen is a librarian in Toronto, ON, who fills every crack of her spare time with children's literature.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.