March 20, 2017

Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip

Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
Kids Can Press
24 pp.
Ages 3-7
April 2017

Mr. Postmouse is the postmaster but he's closing up the post office and going on vacation with Mrs. Postmouse and his mouselings Pip, Milo and Lulu.  But this is a busman's holiday, if ever there was one, because each stop involves a delivery.  Half the fun of Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip is looking for what package has disappeared from Mr. Postmouse's wagon and to whom it has been delivered.  The other half of the fun is taking in all the intricate details of Marianne Dubuc's astounding illustrations, overflowing with characters, activity and novelty. If you could only take one picture book on vacation, it would be Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip, for the sheer volume of stories told within the minutiae of each illustration.

The trip, which is more inclusive than a world cruise, begins with the family Postmouse leaving their rural neighbourhood (I recognize the rural mailbox with its flag up) and bidding adieu to Mr. Bear and heading to a campground.  Amidst the woods of hikers and multitudinous fauna, Marianne Dubuc provides a glimpse into the tidy camper of Aunt Claudette and the family's own tent with cozy sleeping bags.

These pen and ink and pencil illustrations of structures from the camper to a department store and volcanic mountain are quintessential to the Mr. Postmouse series, taking down that fourth wall (or mountain side or ground) to expose an interior of intricacy and wonder.  It's a peek into unseen worlds, more whimsy than real (except for the human structures of food trucks and buildings), always imaginative and elaborate.
From Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip
by Marianne Dubuc
Next stop: the beach.  Take a glimpse inside the sandcastle Lulu is building for Mr. Crab or into the ladybug’s ground hovel or the ice-cream truck of Mr. Panda. Or look for which package Milo is delivering to a seagull.
From Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip 
by Marianne Dubuc
The trip continues with a foray onto the seas in an extraordinary cruise ship named the Rosetta, a stop on a volcanic island (and delivery for Tarzan to his tree house), a trek through the desert and into a jungle which seems to pay homage to Rousseau. The trip ends with stops in a bustling city, in the mountains, on an ice field, and with a venture into the heavens via hot-air balloon.  With each new destination, the Postmice deliver packages or envelopes, enjoy the attributes of the new locale and readers witness new worlds burgeoning with life and joie de vivre.
From Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip 
by Marianne Dubuc
I hope Mr. Postmouse, Mrs. Postmouse, Pip, Milo and Lulu think to send lots of postcards–I'm sure Mr. Postmouse has a healthy supply of stamps!–to help them remember their trip because it is certainly a memorable one.  Even locales which may seem ordinary to some readers are teeming with delightfulness and amusing distractions for both Postmouses (Postmice?) and readers.  There’s Mr. Lizard’s dinner on a plate, meerkats playing chess under ground, the operatic cat putting an audience member to sleep, King Kong hiding, a marmot with booties on his ears, and ants in every location.  Without naming places, Marianne Dubuc may have taken everyone on a seven-continent tour via all manner of transportation.  But, it’s not like Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip is a picture book to support your geography curriculum.  It is there to entertain and tickle, and it does, providing rich discussion fodder and a fascination with all that goes on, both inside and outside around the world.  Bon voyage!

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