________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 4 . . . . October 13, 2006


Matty Mouse. (Blue Bananas).

Jenny Nimmo. Illustrated by Ruth Rivers.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB).
ISBN 0-7787-08985 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-0852-7 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Mice-Juvenile fiction.
Attention-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-2 / Ages 6-7.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4

Matty Mouse is a rather clumsy little boy mouse whose ill-considered actions lead to skinned knees, spills and other minor accidents. When his father tells him that he must "put on his thinking cap" before rushing ahead to disaster, he sets out in search of this elusive piece of headgear. In encounter after encounter, he spots various things to wear on the head, but not a thinking cap. After a surprise thunderstorm that leaves him soaking wet, he realizes what a thinking cap is as he figures out how he can get dry and warm.

     As one of his attempts to find the right hat, Matty crawls into a baby's mitten that has fallen on the ground.

Just as Matty pulled on the mitten the baby's mother noticed that it was missing. She turned back and picked it up.  Matty was still inside, but she didn't see him. She put the mitten beside the baby and pushed them both out of the park and into the supermarket.

Inside the mitten, Matty was getting very hot. "This can't be a  thinking cap," he mumbled. "I can hardly breathe and I certainly can't think."

     The book is printed in large type, with two or three sentences per page, and those little speech balloons that add humour and detail and provide a spur to young readers.

     The story is a different line of country for Jenny Nimmo, who is better known for her Charlie Bone fantasy novels for intermediate readers. Other than being a little over long, Matty Mouse is a charming book for primary boys and girls who are flexing their reading muscles. The pictures by Ruth Rivers are lively line drawings coloured with bright pastels.

     “Blue Bananas” is a series of storybooks designed for children who are past the easy reader category but not quite ready for longer chapter books. Originally published in Britain by Egmont Books, the titles have been reissued by Crabtree Books in Canada and the United States. Familiar authors such as Julia Donaldson and Joyce Dunbar are represented in the series.


Ellen Heaney is Head of Children's Services at the New Westminster Public Library in New Westminster, BC.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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