Written and Illustrated by Jane Simmons
Alfred A. Knopf, 2006
When Mousse met Nut, it was raining.
The plot in a nutshell: Two dogs overcome their differences to become friends.
Mousse is a large dog and Nut is a small dog and when they meet, the rain stops and the day becomes wonderful. They become best friends and play together as often as they can. But then Nut jumps up on a wall too high for Mousse to climb and Mousse swims in the water, although Nut can’t swim. Suddenly, it seems that they are at odds about everything. Nut is too fast and Mousse is too slow. Mousse is too hot and Nut is too cold. They don’t like each other’s houses and as the sky grows dark again, they give up on their friendship. They get to do the things they like, but now they have to do them alone. Mousse goes to find Nut and they become friends again and suddenly, it’s a sunny day again. From that point on, they do things together, even if it’s different things. And every day is wonderful.
Author/illustrator Jane Simmons dives a little deeper into the subject of friendship and addresses what can happen when friends discover they don’t share all the same opinions and preferences. Mousse and Nut react to this very much like typical kids (and some adults, if I’m being honest) might react, by first trying to push their own preferences and assuming that this new revelation means they can’t be friends anymore. These little things can seem monumental to kids and Ms. Simmons doesn’t downplay that, which I appreciate. Instead, she shows us that these two miss each other and that they find a way to do what they love and still be together.
The acrylic artwork is so appealing and colorful. Mousse is a big red dog and Nut is a small brown dog and they both look so cute when they’re smiling (through most of the early part of the book) that you really notice when they become unhappy. As I write this review, we’re deep into the most divisive presidential election season I can remember and I have seen scads of those ‘please unfriend me if you support the other candidate’ posts on Facebook. And I understand that, honestly, especially this year when basic human rights are thrown into the hazard. But this book made me think long and hard about what we can and can’t accept in our friends and it isn’t always an easy call. That’s probably way more than Ms. Simmons intended with this cute story, but any book that makes you think is a good one in my estimation.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that you don’t have to be exactly like your friends. You start by enjoying spending time with them and the rest tends to fall into place.