A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jan Carr's Toe Shoe Mouse is a sweet, adventurous story narrated by the mouse. He escapes from a hungry-looking cat by dashing into a theater, where he finds a ballerina's dressing room, hides in her toe shoe, falls asleep, then wakes to begin building a warm friendship with her. The two leave tiny gifts for each other in between rehearsals, performances, and the mouse's daring escapes from mean-looking rats and the theater custodian's broom. There's suspense and action for adventure lovers and puffy pink costumes for ballet fans. Great for read aloud. Note: Jan Carr writes book reviews for Common Sense Media.
What's the story?
A cute little mouse escapes some mean-looking street rats by jumping through a hole into a grand theater during a ballet rehearsal. He gets cozy in a plush velvet seat before the performance, when a ticket holder comes to claim his seat. He dashes upstairs and finds a cozy, safe spot in a ballerina's dressing room -- in her pink satin toe shoe -- and falls asleep. When he wakes, the ballerina, Celeste by name, is stretching her leg high in the air. He goes to look for some tidbits of food and brings some back for Celeste, then brings her braid and ribbon from the costumer's work table. She finally spies him and leaves him a pink cookie shaped like a mouse, saying, "Thank you for all the presents." She names him Tendu after the ballet move (meaning "stretched" in French). "But," but the narrator mouse tells readers, "you can call me Stretch."
Is it any good?
TOE SHOE MOUSE is a charming tale of a developing human-mouse friendship where the mouse takes the initiative and the human is very open to getting to know her little friend. There's also lots of action as the mouse runs from a cat, rats, and a custodian with his broom. Jennifer A. Bell's adorable illustrations capture every emotion on both friends' faces -- the scared and resourceful mouse, and the sweet, dedicated ballerina who's happy to make Tendu her pet -- and dance with him.
This is a fresh take on a ballet book and a mouse adventure story -- sure to engage tiny dancers and mouse fans alike. The mouse's gentle, semi-formal narration makes it easy to connect with the characters. And Bell's pencil and digitally rendered illustrations in a rose and teal palette, nicely varied from long shots to close-ups, capture the danger and delicacy of the budding friendship. A fun story to read aloud.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mouse stories. Why do you think they're so popular? What's fun about a tiny hero? Can you think of some others you've read?
What's looks fun about ballet? Have you taken ballet lessons? Does it seem hard or fun? Or both?
How does the artist show that the mouse is scared or running fast? Try drawing a picture of a mouse running away from a rat or a man with a broom.
- Author: Jan Carr
- Illustrator: Jennifer A. Bell
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Arts and Dance, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Holiday House
- Publication date: April 15, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 5
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Hardback
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.