Written and Illustrated by Chad Wallace
Dawn Publications, 2014
One day a little meadow mouse was crawling through a field,
Staring in amazement at the wonders it revealed.
The plot in a nutshell: A young mouse explores his meadow home
A mouse leaves his mother’s nest for the first time and goes for a walk around the meadow. Along the way, he meets several other animals and insects and learns about them. He encounters a spider, a honeybee, a caterpillar and a turtle. He is almost eaten by a garter snake, but a weasel attacks the snake, giving the mouse a chance to run away. When he meets a mother rabbit and her babies, it makes him long for a home of his own. As he runs through the meadow, an owl swoops down at him, but he is saved by a female mouse who pulls him out of danger. The two of them sit together under the moonlight and talk about the world around them.
Author/illustrator Chad Wallace has illustrated several books, but this is the first one in which he takes the author helm as well. The real story here is nature and the habitat of a meadow from the point of view of a small and wide-eyed mouse, just discovering the world around him. It’s told in rhyming couplets that occasionally come across as stiff and cumbersome, but mostly work well. The last two pages are filled with information about subjects dealt with in the story – meadows, animal communication, ecosystems and symbiotic relationships, as well as activities to do with kids who want to learn more.
The digital artwork is just stunning, with such detail that you expect the animals to leap right off the page. And, if you want them to, you can download a free iPhone/iPad app that will make the pictures spring to three dimensional life (and even move around) while the app reads the book to you. I found it really mesmerizing and I imagine that kids would love being able to experience the book this way. This would be a great book to read before or after a nature hike with your little ones.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that the world around us is filled with things that are wonderful and things that are dangerous, and it’s always better with a good friend by your side.