MOUSE IN THE HOUSE by Gillian McClure reviewed by Adèle Geras
I was lucky enough to see MOUSE IN THE HOUSE
ahead of its publication this month, and it's a perfect
example of the kind of book which gets overlooked very
often in review roundups and the like.
It's exactly what very, very young children need. You
can't start reading books of this kind to a baby too early.
It's true that at first, (maybe at six months or so) the
subtlety and real meaning of the story will be lost on the
infant, but what the child will pick up on is the rhythm
of the reader's voice, their encircling arms, and the parade
of lovely colours as the pages are turned. Parents ought to be
encouraged to read to children practically from birth, so that this pleasure is absorbed as one of the Good Things, like milk
This book is perfect for such early reading. McClure
has used her own grandchild's cuddly mouse toy as
an inspiration. She's located the story in his house, which
has a squirrel in a tree outside, just like the squirrel in
the story. Not every child has a writer/illustrator as
a granny, but parents and grandparents everywhere will
seize on this delightful tale and make it part of their
The story explores all the senses. The bird on the tree
sees the mouse. The squirrel hears the mouse. The dog
smells the mouse and the cat touches the mouse. The
baby, of course, simply loves the mouse. It's very simple
and effective. The pictures are pastel crayon, I think,
that gives the book a wonderfully intimate feel.
The colours and lines of the pictures are perfect:
bright but not garish: ever so slightly blurry.
I particularly like the 'mouse' endpapers.
It's a very welcoming story and would make a wonderful
present to take as a present for new parents.