Who Goes There?

Book review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Who Goes There? Book Poster Image
Sweet tale of mouse overcoming fear, finding a friend.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational value

Kids will learn about the hibernation habits of animals in winter.

Positive messages

Who Goes There? imparts positive messages about facing your fears and making new friends.

Positive role models & representations

Characters are simple but kind. They have relatable fears of the unknown but a gentle disposition and openness toward new experiences.

Violence & scariness

When he hears scratching and tapping noises, the mouse imagines a number of frightening things that could be outside: a great horned owl, a scary cat, and others, depicted as looming large in his imagination. These vivid depictions could be frightening to younger children.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Who Goes There? addresses nighttime fears, fear of the dark, and fear of the unknown. The book aims to dispel these fears with a positive outcome, but some young children could be frightened by depictions of the mouse's scared imaginings of who or what could be making the noises he hears outside (for example, a great horned owl and a scary cat).

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What's the story?

Lewis Mouse is preparing his tree home for winter when he hears a very troubling sound at his door. Is the scritch-scratch at his door a scary predator, the howling wind, or something worse? As he summons the courage to face his fears, he learns a few pleasant surprises about venturing into the unknown.

Is it any good?

WHO GOES THERE? is a simple and sweet tale about fear of the unknown. The simple characters and gentle illustrations using pen, ink, and watercolor add a romantic, old-fashioned quality to this story of friendship.

Kids getting used to trying new experiences will have their fears assuaged by this positive depiction of making friends in unlikely circumstances, and parents can appreciate this nostalgic nod to the Beatrix Potter books and the opportunity presented here for a conversation about trying new things.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fear of the unknown. Have you been afraid to try something new or different that you found scary? What was it? Did you try it? What happened?

  • Can you think of any other books you've read that have a mouse as the main character? Why do you think they're so common in books for young kids? 

  • What does your family do to stay cozy or warm in your house during the winter? What are your favorite winter treats or traditions? What animals do you know that hibernate? 

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