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Upstairs Mouse, Downstairs Mole (Mouse & Mole

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K-Gr 3-Aptly dedicated to "Friends of Frog and Toad," this delightful beginning reader introduces two endearing neighbors. In the first chapter, Mouse inadvertently sends all her dirt cascading onto Mole's pristine floor when she sweeps. When he confronts her, they learn that with a bit of ingenuity and cooperation, they can clean both floors and still have time to plant a garden. In "The Invitations," the new friends attempt to share a meal, but their innate differences-Mole likes his house damp and dark and eats worms, Mouse likes the warm sun and prefers cheese-make it impossible. Next, the animals find clever ways to reconcile their dissimilarities: Mole presents Mouse with some candles to use when she visits, and she gives him a pair of sunglasses. In the final entry, Mole surprises Mouse with a rowboat. Although it's missing an oar, they manage to have fun. The next day, Mouse has a surprise of her own-a new paddle to make "A pair-like you and me!" The expressive bamboo-pen and watercolor with colored-pencil illustrations capture the humor of the situations as well as the emotions of the characters. With its controlled vocabulary, repetition, and humor, this tale of friendship also introduces opposites, homophones, and letter writing. A real winner.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Yee's (Fireman Small) comfy beginning reader (dedicated to "Friends of Frog and Toad") focuses on Mouse and Mole and packs in plenty of sweetness and civility. All four stories show the pair learning how friends must accommodate each other's limitations and desires. Each turn of the page contains as many as four pen, watercolor and colored pencil spot illustrations that cheerfully animate the simply plotted tales. When downstairs Mole has to sweep his house twice because upstairs Mouse has a hole in her floor, they agree to sweep each others' houses together to save "half the time." When they take turns inviting each other over for dinner, Mouse bumps into things in Mole's damp, dark house, while Mole, blinded by the bright sunshine, is also knocked off his chair by the odor of Limburger cheese. The characters speak with a kind of charming Victorian formality. When Mole presents Mouse with a present (a candle for her next visit to Mole's), Mole says, "This is for you.... I hope you don't think me a thoughtless neighbor." The tone of their speech fits both the gentle characters and the leisurely pace of their affable stories. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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