Eeeek, Mouse! written and illustrated by Lydia Monks and published by Egmont is a truly fun book to read. It is a picture book that gives you that little bit extra with tangible elements that invite you to interact with the book and the story. Right from when you open the front cover and realise that the girl is peeking in through an actual cut out mouse hole.
Eeeek, Mouse! tells the story of a family who spot a mouse in their house. We are immediately thrown in to the drama on the first page when the mouse has just been spotted. Mum is shrieking, Dad has climbed on to his chair and hit his head on the light shade and the family pets are already in hot pursuit (all except for the guinea pig who is helping himself to the cat’s upturned bowl of food).
The parents are understandably horrified and want to get the mouse out of the house as quickly as they can. Minnie, the daughter of the family, loves mice and wants to protect it. The family cat also loves mice, just not in the same way. Dad sets about constructing a complicated mousetrap to rid the house of the infestation. Horrified, Minnie arranges her own trap in secret, one that will protect the poor defenseless mouse and save it from Dad’s contraptions.
Outwitted by his daughter and the mouse, Dad’s trap is a failure whereas Minnie’s is so successful she not only saves one mouse but discovers a whole family of mice! She and the mice are delighted, and so is Minnie’s cat…
The book is illustrated with a mixture of painted drawings and collages of differemt materials. They add a wonderful texture to each page and are the distinctive feature of Lydia Monks illustrations that make them so recognisable.
The illustrations are so full of character, in fact every creature drawn, no matter how small, has a personality. From each member of the mouse family to the stuffed toys and drawings on Minnie’s wall, every page is bursting with expression. The page where Minnie and the family of mice are all playing in Minnie’s bedroom is brilliant, when I read this with my bigger boy we stop to spot all the mice and see what they’re up to. Our favourites are the mouse who is dancing with a spider and the mouse who has gorged on so much cheese he has passed out with a smile on his face and a very large tummy.
There are further cut out features in the book, like the one on the cover, that allow you to peek through to the next pages and rediscover the scene from a different character’s point of view. This adds a great depth to the story and opens up opportunities for discussing what different characters might be thinking and why. This is great for building on children’s language development as being able to think about and explain the thoughts of someone else is quite abstract.
Beautifully constructed and so cleverly delivered, this book bursts in to life and draws you in with excitement and great humour. It is a lovely story to share and has so much to discover with every read and re-read!
You can find out more about Lydia Monks on her gorgeously happy website.Follow @Acornbooks