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Mildred and Sam


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About the Author

Sharleen Collicott is the author and illustrator of Toestomper and the Caterpillars, Seeing Stars, Mildred and Sam, and Mildred and Sam and Their Babies. She is also the illustrator of The Chicken Sisters by Laura Numeroff and Which Witch is Which by Judi Barrett. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Gr 1-3-A mouse couple lives in a tiny house. Sam is happy but Mildred is fidgety. She looks everywhere hoping to find a larger place to accommodate "visitors." She also has nightmares in which she and Sam have "to make a fast escape." This one good line is repeated several times. Following the dreams, Mildred begins planting a garden, making blankets, and knitting little things. At book's end, their enlarged house is "filled with visitors-eight tiny baby mice." This story feels like it is right out of the 1950s with the "little visitors" euphemism and never addressing the real issues. And what is the mystery seed that Mildred plants in her garden? Cute, candy-colored cartoon critters can't save this confusing book.-Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

Collicott's (Toestomper and the Caterpillars) cheery I Can Read Book introduces an endearing mouse couple living in a small hollow beneath a crop of daffodils. While Sam is content with their cozy home, Mildred is "fidgety" and fears that their abode isn't large enough. "There is no room for visitors," she tells Sam. In the first of the tale's three chapters, the duo's outings (a climb up an oak tree, a picnic on a lily pad, a tea-and-cookies repast in a rose thicket) lead Mildred on each occasion to ask, "Wouldn't it be nice to live here?" Sam's levelheaded responses (e.g., "But there is no door to keep us safe from the great owl," he says of the oak tree) inspire Mildred to dream whimsical scenarios, vividly portrayed in enchanting illustrations. (a painting of the owl carrying the couple skyward also reveals their tool for escape-an umbrella with which to parachute down). Mildred's dreams in the second section-which spring from her efforts to plant a garden-take on outlandish, decidedly child-pleasing proportions. Finally, the reasons for Mildred's "fidgeting" and nesting instincts are revealed: the couple welcomes eight new additions to their burrow-the payoff for Sam's feverish digging (to provide "plenty of room for visitors-just in case"). A well-balanced narrative with plenty of judiciously repeated phrases, plus fetching graphics, make this a fine choice for beginning readers, who will want to find out what happens to the mouse family next. Ages 3-7. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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