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A Bank Street Best Book of the Year
“Perfect for storytime, and with so much to explore on each page, a one-on-one read is also a must.” —School Library Journal
“A sweet depiction of companionship and creature comforts.” —Publishers Weekly
It’s the middle of the night, and two paper mice find adventure—and each other—as they explore their new home in this beautifully written, stunningly illustrated story of friendship.
With a snip and a clip, two paper mice are made. They are given names: Della and Ralph. Each alone, they explore their new house in the dark. Della dashes up the stairs; Ralph skitters through the dining room. There is so much to see and so much to discover!
But a big, dark house can be scary for those so small, until they find…each other.
Beautiful, cut-paper illustrations bring to life this lyrical story of adventure and friendship.
About the Author
Megan Wagner Lloyd’s debut picture book, Finding Wild, was called “sparkling” by Publishers Weekly, and her latest, Fort-Building Time, was called “playful reading fun” by Kirkus Reviews. Megan lives with her family in the Washington, DC, area. Visit her online at MeganWagnerLloyd.com.
Phoebe Wahl’s first picture book, Sonya’s Chickens, was the recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for New Illustrator, as well as a Kirkus Reviews star, and was listed by School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Huffington Post as one of the best children’s books of the year. Her latest, Backyard Fairies, was called “delightful” by Kirkus Reviews. Phoebe graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 with a BFA in illustration and currently lives in Washington state. Learn more at PhoebeWahl.com.
“With a snip and a clip,/ and a clip and a snip” an elderly woman and a girl craft two paper mice from a security-lined envelope and a sheet of white paper. The mice, christened Ralph and Della, are “placed between the pages/ of two books, pressed flat, and put away.” After the house settles into sleep, the mice awaken from their literary slumber and, each unaware of the other, explore the quiet house, dashing across piano keys, investigating the pantry, and, just like Hunca Munca before them, discovering a perfectly sized dollhouse. It’s only when Della spots Ralph drying himself in front of the fireplace’s embers and saves him from an errant spark that the mice truly begin to enjoy their nocturnal adventures: “Out into the darkness they’d each ventured—alone—/ and found true comfort: a friend.” Wahl creates a comfortably cluttered domicile and a visually engaging nighttime playground in layered illustrations populated with patterned textures and cozy details—clothes dry near the fireplace, and a well-stocked pantry promises fulfillment. Quiet and unpretentious, this simple story of charmed mice offers a sweet depiction of companionship and creature comforts.
— Publishers Weekly
Playful language with a cheery rhythm describes their adventures and occasionally reveals their thoughts. Della is delighted to discover a dollhouse (and clothes). Ralph explores the kitchen and sets his sights on a loaf of bread. Once the two mice meet, their enjoyment multiplies. The illustrations are dark, befitting the nighttime setting. Created with both physical (watercolor and cut paper) and digital media, the repeating elements, worn-looking textures, and a limited palette of mostly reds, blues, and purples combine to resemble traditional block printing. There are plenty of details to pore over as the mice explore. Humorous touches include a face-to-face meeting between Della and a rubber duck and a "Cap Caraway" album cover, among others. . . . May wind up being a favorite—and even inspire some artwork of their own.
— Kirkus Reviews
Della and Ralph are mice cut from paper, “placed between the pages of two books, pressed flat, and put away”—but at night they come alive to explore the enormous, intimidating house. The two search separately, Ralph looking for food and falling into the cat’s water bowl as Della plays in a dollhouse, but when they discover each other and join up on an adventure, “a second set of paws, it turned out, made everything easier.” When the sun rises, Della and Ralph return to their respective books, but presumably not for long. The use of watercolor makes backgrounds interesting and varied while the level of detail poured into each drawing will appeal to viewers, particularly those who can read the labels on cereal boxes or bookshelves to learn more about the human inhabitants of the home Della and Ralph search. Della and Ralph are appealing cut-paper figures, and the mixed-media format of the illustrations in predominantly blue, purple, and pinkish hues enhance this nighttime adventure, which would be a good choice to read aloud just before bedtime.
Grandma creates two paper mice and presses them into books on her granddaughter's night stand. As the day’s orange palette shifts to deep purples, shy little Ralph and scampering Della magically emerge from the book to see the brand-new sights of the night. They investigate a sleeping cat, a piano, and the pantry, until adventurous Della finds a dollhouse. Meanwhile, the two paper mice meet after Ralph falls into the cat’s bowl of water and lights his tail on fire while drying off by the hearth. Now it’s cooperation as they carry off a loaf of bread and return to their dollhouse home to dance the night away. The brief text’s elegant language: “a snip and a clip, a pop and a glow, a shout and a shove” follows the mice until their sweet connection as “paper paw met paper paw.” Illustrations in cut paper and watercolor reinforce the mice’s paper personalities as they explore the richly colored house at night while the little girl sleeps. — Lolly Gepson
— Booklist Online
PreS-Gr 1–With a snip and clip, two paper mice come into being. After adding “bright eyes,” “tiny noses,” and “elegant whiskers,” they are given names. The white one is named Ralph and the blue one, Della. When they are finished “they were placed between the pages of two books” and when night comes, out they go. “They were only paper mice, but even they knew that night is a mouse’s day, and time to roam free of fright.” Not aware of each other, they set off to explore. The delightful mixed-media illustrations have a folk-art feel, capturing the nighttime adventure in shades of deep blue, purple, and dark red. Some things are scary, and some are not. They creep and they scamper, until Della finds a doll house just her size, and Ralph gets into trouble and falls in a dish full of water. Trying to dry in front of the fire is when they finally meet. And just in time, because Ralph’s tail was catching on fire. An adventure shared makes an outing better as they soon discover. Before night becomes day, the two tired mice “slipped back between the pages of their books, and fell asleep.” VERDICT Perfect for storytime, and with so much to explore on each page, a one-on-one read is also a must.–Lucia Acosta, Children’s Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ
— School Library Journal