I came across this book in a list of free Amazon books. I “bought” it and downloaded it on my Kindle cloud for an immediate digital read. I read this on my computer. It had all the illustrations and the idea was quite good. Since this is aimed at children 3 to 8, I was expecting more paced verses in the manner of nursery rhymes. I thought that the presence of so many free verses would make it more difficult for a younger reader to read and pace themselves. I also thought that the way some of the paragraphs were grouped was too overwhelming for the younger demographic. However, I did like the rhyming that was a little reminiscent of children’s nursery rhymes.
The message of being nice to animals is lovely. However, this is yet another book aimed at children that does not balance its message and forgets safety. A mouse is not a pet unless it has been “raised” to be so. A “wild” mouse, as it is, carries disease. Hygiene is a matter of health and therefore of survival. It beats cuteness and its nonetheless important message of appreciating the beauty around us. If the book had managed to balance both sides of the human coin and instil the part each plays in leading a better life for a growing child, it would have had all the points. Instead, the book forgets safety in favour of bravery. It bears specifying: they are not mutually exclusive. Raising awareness of risks is not being cynical. Romanticising danger is not teaching bravery or being optimistic. Indeed, there is no bravery without a sense of danger.
I also thought that the way some of the paragraphs were grouped was too overwhelming for the younger demographic. The book would have benefitted from additional images to break up the paragraphs. There were details that could have been omitted because they padded the book and raised more unanswered questions (whose doll house was it?) and details that needed expressing (safety, Out of what did the boy first made the mouse’s bed?).
The balance of images and text was not right. Although the type of illustrations was not my favourite, it was definitely à-propos and cute for the target audience. The book would have benefitted from more of those to break up the too-long paragraphs. There lied a contradiction. There was all at once too much and too little to read. Some details could have been omitted because they unnecessarily padded the book and even raised more questions thank they answered. And of course, they left these unanswered, that felt a lot more interesting than those developed. For example, what is the story of the doll house that thus housed the mouse? Other details needed expressing. One would be, out of what did the boy first made the mouse’s bed?
It felt like the book would have needed a good beta-reader and possibly additional editing/proofreading. A good child book beta-reader would have definitely helped with that. An editor would have furthered the work. A proofreader would have nicely completed it. Kudos to the author though for a good book and a good idea. All in all, A House For A Mouse is a definitely a cute idea but with a half-baked finish.