Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Kirk, Daniel. Library Mouse: A World to Explore. New York: Abrams, 2010. ISBN: 978-0-8109-8968-9. $16.95 US, $21.95 CAN. Ages 5 - 7.

Every person has that friend who plunges headlong into life, approaching all obstacles with a no-holds-barred fearlessness. For Sam, the library mouse who lives behind the children’s reference books, that friend is Sarah. The tug-of-war between Sam’s pragmatic reluctance and Sarah’s enthusiasm forms the impetus for their adventures. Each time Sarah hurtles herself clumsily into adventure, Sam points out the danger and encourages her to do more research first. She pushes his boundaries to help him “see the world without ever leaving the library.”

The story models some wonderful viewpoints about libraries, particularly the idea that libraries, and by extension, books, can be fun. In addition to the benefit of simply meeting a new friend, the pair learns to make their research a reality by dressing up and play-acting the reference books. Also, since the two mice do so much “traveling” through their research, the story demonstrates the potential of books to transport the reader to new worlds.

Kirk’s illustrations employ dense, opaque colors that often fill the page. The library books, all very brightly colored and complete with call number stickers, look inviting and sturdy. Flipping through the pages, I want to pull them off their shelves to look at the covers! The mice have lifelike fur, interesting facial expressions, and colorful outfits. The library posters, upon closer examination, feature the mice themselves, as well as other whimsical critters.

Used by a teacher, this book could be an excellent introduction to a trip to the library (…or the internet), perhaps to inspire students to bring “reference” to life.

Marisa Behan

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