October 20, 2021

Halloween Mouse

Written by Philip Roy
Illustrated by Lisa Ferguson
Ronsdale Press
32 pp.
Ages 2-6
October 2021
If the leaves are falling, then Halloween is on the horizon. Undoubtedly many children are already gearing up for the trick-or-treat holiday of costumes and candy, but there's one little mouse named Happy who's just learning of the spooky event and is ready to embrace it completely. 
From Halloween Mouse by Philip Roy, illus. by Lisa Ferguson
When Happy the Pocket Mouse, John's enduring purple-hued murine friend, sees the leaves falling and an elderly neighbour decorating her house with ghosts and such, he does what he always does: asks lots of questions. 

"Well, they dress up and go door-to-door to ask for treats."

"That sounds boring, John! I'm glad we don't do that. What are treats?"


"Candy? Treats are candy?"

Of course, with the intensity of a youngster, Happy decides they should dress up and go out for Halloween. Unfortunately, John is reluctant, claiming he's too old. But Happy, through a series of pointed questions, gets John to relent–after all, you're never too old for candy!–and helps with some surprise face-painting to make John scary-looking.
From Halloween Mouse by Philip Roy, illus. by Lisa Ferguson
Eager and impatient, Happy prods John into heading out before all the candy is gone. But being an adult going trick-or-treating, an activity generally limited to youth, John is not always welcomed with enthusiasm and is often questioned.
From Halloween Mouse by Philip Roy, illus. by Lisa Ferguson
Still, the friends return home with a cornucopia of candy and Happy dives in a little too enthusiastically, as children often do, and needs to recover while John discovers the nature of his disguise.

When Philip Roy introduced young readers to Happy the Pocket Mouse in Mouse Tales (2014), he gave us a unique friendship as the basis for positive messages about curiosity, adaptation, and sharing. John may act like the adult or even parent in the relationship, trying to educate Happy and help him understand so much of the human world but he's so much more, mixing companion, sidekick, and mentor into a congenial sage. And Happy is the bright spot of inquisitiveness and heart, eager to learn and experience new things, but always with John by his side for guidance.

This is the first Happy the Pocket Mouse book to be illustrated by Ontario's Lisa Ferguson (https://studioferguson.com/) who emulates the characters and landscapes of the original books with dexterity and feeling. Happy is still sweet and innocent and John is insightful and warm-hearted. Their touching relationship and honest explorations are portrayed with gentle colours and soft lines, even as related to potentially scary Halloween. 
But Halloween is anything but scary, something Happy is often concerned about, with Halloween Mouse because Philip Roy's words and Lisa Ferguson's art have given us the sweetness of a chocolate bar and the amusement that comes with dressing up wrapped up in a special friendship that the very young will appreciate. And, of course, there is candy!

πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ πŸŽƒ

There are now five books in the Happy the Pocket Mouse series from Philip Roy. Books 1 through 4 were illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara with Lisa Ferguson doing the artwork for Book 5.

Mouse Pet (2015)
Halloween Mouse (2021)

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