Town Mouse, Country Mouse
. Little Tiger Group: Caterpillar Books . London
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The back cover rightly describes this as a "rhyming peep-through picture book." The front cover indicates several of its charms when it presents the two mice through cutouts of the thick cover material and when it supplies a series of small snapshots selected from scenes in the book. The basic story here is of a swap that brings each mouse back to enjoy his or her home. Cutouts in the pages present a nice contrast, as when City Mouse has a picture of country mouse in her wall in front of the motorcar wallpaper like the front endpapers. She writes, by the way, on an ace of spades desk surface. Turn the page and we find on the wall of the Country Mouse a framed picture "Town Life," which of course looks through the same cutout hole to the previous scene's view of the town. Storyteller and artist both linger nicely on the details of packing up, watering plants, and saying good-bye to friends. Once they have traded places, noise in the town wakes up Country Mouse, who has to be stopped by a spider from blundering into a mouse trap. Town Mouse has to be warned by a bird not to eat some berries that would make her sick. Life gets worse for both when they go outside. The series of city scenes across the top of these pages is particularly well done. Now back at home, Town Mouse knows it's the place for her and sends a paper airplane out to her country cousin, who reflects that home is where the heart is. The book ends with flowered endpapers, as it began with citylike automobile images. This is a clever and engaging children's book.