December 04, 2012

Miss Mousie's Blind Date

by Tim Beiser
Illustrated by Rachel Berman
Tundra Books
24 pp.
Ages 4-7

"Spring is such a funny thing-
it wakes up all the plants
And makes our furry woodland friends
go cuckoo for romance.
And so it was, one day in May,
when stopping by the deli,
Miss Mousie's eye fell on a guy
who turned her knees to jelly." (pg. 2)

In its refreshing take on the theme of finding love where least expected, Miss Mousie's Blind Date starts with Miss Mousie spotting the debonair Matt LaBatt, the water rat, with his handsome looks and lemon yellow teeth.  Unfortunately Miss Mousie's attempts to attract his attention are scuttled when she hears him call her the "fat girl".

Such a blow to her fragile ego sends Miss Mousie to hide herself in her burrow to avoid further ridicule.  But an unexpected invitation to dinner and its surprising outcome leave Miss Mousie with her dignity restored and a quickening in her heart.

Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman's first collaboration, Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog (Tundra, 2009), resulted in nominations for the Blue Spruce Award, the Chocolate Lily Book Award, the Governor General's Award for Children's Fiction Illustration, and the CBA Libris Award for Children's Picture Book of the Year.  And the same sweet rhyming and endearing illustrations are evident in Miss Mousie's Blind Date, making it another charmed read.  

While romance may seem an unusual theme for readers of picture books, no young reader will see anything but lightheartedness in the soft, not fat, Miss Mousie in her adorable millinery and her hopeful expectations for possible love.  The perfect collaboration of Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman takes Miss Mousie from crushing on the handsome rat to despairing over his disregard for her and finally to delight, with an ending that will please even those too young to know the pangs of first love but will understand the value of being oneself.

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