This handsomely designed book, first published in India, combines dazzling textile collages with sprightly verse. An unseen child whose aunt has just returned from India narrates and, just as he or she drifts off to sleep, "suddenly [becomes] a bright blue mouse." Leutwiler's appliqu?d quilt panels, stitched in brilliant peacock shades, show the blue mouse with an appealingly inquisitive expression, meeting the animals and people of India. The artist represents the country's grass, roads, store signs and newsprint with scraps of printed cotton and silks. In Ravishankar's text, written to accompany Leutwiler's quilted compositions, the mouse inquires of everyone as to its whereabouts, and gets a series of Lewis Carroll-like replies. "If you were standing on your head/ I'd say you're on your hair./ But since you're standing on your feet/ You could be anywhere," offers a woman in traditional dress. Even an elephant draped in jewels and fine fabrics chimes in: "Off with your shoes! Off with your shoes!" sounding like the Queen of Hearts. Is the blue mouse really in India? With hints of the country's spiritual underpinnings, a bearded gentleman replies, "Oh don't you know?/ It doesn't matter where you are/ But where you want to go." A store bearing the sign "Ramaran Silks," indigenous animals and a "Chennai Airport" stitched into one of the cloth panels, provide the real clues to the setting. In this colorful journey in book form, Ravishankar and Leutwiler introduce readers to an exotic land. Ages 8-up. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.