Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears
by Emily Gravett
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
On shelves September 9, 2008
Winner of the 2007 Nestlé Children's Book Prize Bronze Award and
the 2008 Kate Greenaway Medal
review copy provided by the publisher
What's it with book characters taking the pencil (or the red marker) and revising the author's work?!? Chester messes with Mélanie Watt's writing, and now Little Mouse is messing with Emily Gravett's -- writing and drawing on the pages, chewing on the pages, and more.
Ms. Gravett has created a perfectly good self-help book for those who have fears and phobias. It is intended to be a sort of workbook for the phobic to face his/her fears with writing, drawing and collage. And Little Mouse takes her up on this.
I know we shouldn't laugh at others' fears, but this is a really funny book. Little Mouse's fears have literary references (Three Blind Mice and Hickory Dickory Dock), have real (Acrophobia) and imaginary (Whereamiophobia) names, and are so problematic to Little Mouse that his red pencil is a mere stump by the end of the book.
There are flaps, die-cuts, "chewed" edges of pages, "folded" page corners, and a VERY funny fold-out map of The Isle of Fright to keep the reader poring over the pages of this book. Every time you read it, you'll find a detail you had missed before.
I'm not sure this would be a therapeutic book for anyone with bonafide phobias, but the rest of us who have our share of fears and worries will completely empathize with Little Mouse, and in the end, with Emily Gravett.
Shelf Elf reviewed Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears last October. She must have gotten ahold of a British copy.
Visit Emily Gravett's website, where there's an activity for making your own collage of your fears, and a couple of page shots to give you a feel for the unique illustrations.