________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 16 . . . . April 12, 2002

cover Just Like You.

Jan Fearnley.
London, UK,, Mammoth (Distributed in Canada by Stewart House Publishing), 2000.
32 pp., pbk., $10.99.
ISBN 0-7497-4231-3.

Subject Headings:
Animals-Infancy-Juvenile fiction.
Parent and child-Juvenile fiction.
Mice-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-Grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Lisa O'Hara.

**** /4

imageThis delightful book by Jan Fearnley follows Mama Mouse and Little Mouse as they are making their way home at the end of the day. On their journey, they see many animal families in which the parents express their love for their children through their actions. Mama Bird flies high in the sky to find food for her babies, Daddy Frog jumps to get the juiciest bugs, Mama Rabbit digs a burrow to keep her babies safe, Mama Seal dives deep for treasures, and Fox runs far and fast. Although Mama Mouse tells Little Mouse that he is just as special to her as the other babies are to their parents, he worries that Mama Mouse is too small to do any of the things that he has seen the other parents do and that he is not special. Mama Mouse assuages his fears.

     "Well, all that may be true," she said, "but even a little mouse can do quite a few things. Let me see. I'll tell you stories to make you smile, I'll find you nice things to nibble on, I'll play with you and make you laugh, I'll hug you and keep you safe and when you're naughty, I promise I'll be very, very cross with you!"

     Little Mouse is reassured and decides that he must be very special. And so is this picture book! The book outlines a parent's love for his or her children and manages not to be preachy or sentimental. Fearnley adds a comic touch as seen in the excerpt above, which also touches on the tougher part of a parental love: discipline.

     Fearnley's watercolor illustrations are as pleasing as the story itself. They enhance the story by adding another comic touch, such as a picture of a cat which Little Mouse has drawn on the wall. The detail in the pictures, like the worms in the dirt and Little Mouse's paintbrush headboard, are sure to delight children and adults.

     The rhythm of this story and the subject matter make this book a delight to read. Children will enjoy the repetitiveness of Little Mouse marveling at how special each child is, and Mama Mouse's reply, "Just like you." Parents will also enjoy the storyline and appreciate the ideas expressed. This is a wonderful story to be read aloud to a group or to one child cuddled up on the couch.

Highly recommended.

Lisa O'Hara is a librarian in Winnipeg, MB, and mother of three preschoolers.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364