Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hermelin the Detective Mouse

Booklist starred (May 1, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 17))
Preschool-Grade 3. This winning picture book opens with a scene of a tiny community of attached houses on Offley Street, where the residents and their pets are engaged in all sorts of activities simultaneously. Next, the narrator introduces himself. Hermelin, a charming white mouse, lives in an attic and enjoys typing messages on an upright typewriter. After reading on a notice board that his neighbors have lost a number of items, he quickly solves each case and also saves a baby from an untimely end. The residents gather to thank their unknown benefactor, but when the mouse appears, panic ensues. Downcast, Hermelin prepares to leave Offley Street, but a friendly neighbor offers him a better option. In both the precisely written text and the richly detailed mixed-media illustrations, this title offers a treasure trove of narratives, large and small. The colorful artwork is full of drama and inventive details, and while the double-page spreads are sometimes crowded, they are also dynamic, well structured, and satisfying. Some children will enjoy the challenge of solving the mini-mysteries using clues found in the illustrations, while others will be content to follow the adventures of the amiable mouse as his tale unfolds. An absorbing picture book with a small but worthy hero.

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