Review by Charlotte Jeanne
Follow the Mountain Mouse as he climbs a camel’s hump, swims in the cat’s water bowl, sleeps in an eagle’s nest, and plays near shark infested waters in I am the Mountain Mouse by Gianna Marino. While mischief is a fairly common topic in children’s literature, this book is unique and unprecedented in both the writing style and the illustrations.
Gianna Marino uses panels of illustrations that create a comic book effect. This style and structure are compatible with the humor of the book. These panels are effective at telling the story and showing plot development. It looks like you are watching each moment unfold as you read.
Marino also uses speech bubbles with different typefaces to develop an individual and unique voice for the trouble-making Mountain Mouse. When read aloud, Mountain Mouse’s cocky and rebellious personality comes through in a way that is sure to make a classroom of children laugh.
The use of color behind the panels helps show a change in scenery and mood for each of the four stories told. The very unique watercolor style lends itself very well to emotional expression. Her style adds to the humor by pairing the confident and boastful facial expressions of the Mountain Mouse with fearful and worried expressions of his friends.
The ending of the book encourages imagination and creativity with the final words “The[re is no] End.” Children will enjoy sharing their own ideas and predictions for what will happen with Mountain Mouse next. The end also encourages children to be imaginative about what other antics Mountain Mouse may get into, because “there is no end” to his trouble.
This book would be a fun book to read aloud in a classroom, because the voice and personality of Mountain Mouse comes alive through the text. It is also a book I would recommend to a young reader, because it is easy to follow the plot without being able to read each and every word of the text. The book is relatable to children, because all children know what it is like to get into sticky situations or watch classmates cause trouble and misbehave. This book could be read aloud to preschoolers and young elementary schoolers, and should be on the shelf of classroom libraries for children to practice reading it on their own.
Published in 2016 by Penguin Young Readers Group.