LITTLE MOUSE'S (aka Emily Gravett's) BIG BOOK OF FEARS is an amazing creation. Not so much a story to be read as a springboard for discussing and imagining, it is built on a simple, down-to-earth premise brought to life through amazing illustrations and a comfortably interactive format. Immediately inside the front cover, Gravett sets out the basic tenets: "Everyone is scared of something. Living with fear can make even the bravest person feel small ... a fear faced is a fear defeated." She has managed her own fears, she says, through art and doodling, and she welcomes Little Mouse, and the reader, to do the same on the pages of her book.
Constructed much like a scrapbook or journal, the artistry of this book is outstanding and cleverly detailed. Little Mouse, who looks more like a pet white rat, scampers across tea-stained pages filled with doodles, cards, photos, and news clippings. She carries a red pencil that gets shorter, more worn, and definitely chewed on as she moves nervously through the book, recording her own fears and adding her own doodles. Pages nibbled around the edges (added by the author's daughter's pet rats) and tender, expressive drawings in muted tones of beige, brown, and red give a look that is both light-hearted and inviting.