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Christmas in the Mouse House by M. Kneen

Kneen, Maggie.  Christmas in the Mouse House. Somerville, Massachusetts:  Templar Books, 2011. Print.

This delightful pop-up and lift-the-flap book will entertain adults and children alike. English children’s author and illustrator, Maggie Kneen, who is also an architectural and archaeological illustrator, creates nostalgic images of the perfect family Christmas. The Mouse family lives in what might be a Colonial-era house. Mama Mouse wears long dresses and aprons and Papa Mouse has a knee-length red frock coat and a cravat. Mama Mouse cooks over an open fireplace with a tea kettle hanging on a hook. Upstairs, Nanny, in a pink candy-stripe dress and white servant’s cap, puts baby to bed in canopied cradle.

It is Christmas Eve and Mama and Papa have hidden all of the Christmas decorations.  Readers help all the little mice find them by lifting the flaps. Christmas decorations are behind the clock, in a pot on the shelf, in cabinets and even outside in a bird’s next. During the course of their search, the little mice also collect toys that would make good ornaments and even make some of their own ornaments.

Every pair of pages shows a different room in the house, each with several flaps. Every other room scene has a pop-up.  The last pop-up shows the whole Mouse family dancing around the decorated Christmas tree, which everyone agrees is “the most beautiful Christmas tree they’ve ever seen.”

The reading level of this book is too high for the age 3-6 target audience.  However, it is the kind of book that adults read to small children. Like all pop-up books this volume will succumb to wear and tear, but will be much loved. Highly recommended.

Recommendation:  4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer:  Sandy Campbell

Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.  Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.