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“A book is the most effective weapon against intolerance and ignorance.”
Summary: Rip Squeak, a mouse, wants to plan a surprise party for his parents. He gets help from his sister Jesse, Abbey the house cat, and his friend Euripedes, a frog. Together they set up for the party while his parents are away. They clean the house, make a cake, and get balloons and decorations set up. They send out invitations and it is a wonderful surprise for his parents. This is a picture book about love, friendship, and doing something nice for no reason at all.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 6; read yourself: 10 and up
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 3.2
Age of Child: Read with a 4-year-old boy.
Young Reader Reaction: My son did not have a strong reaction to the book. He enjoyed listening to the story and he, of course, loved the part about the CAKE!
Adult Reader Reaction: The illustrations were rich and detailed with LOTS to discover. The story, while, awkward, had a VERY loving and positive feel to it. That being said, I am not a huge fan of the Rip Squeak books. I have read others, and he stories consistently feel disjointed to me: jumps in the stories from one page to the next that I don't understand. I thought it was strange that they hosted such a formal surprise party just because "We love you!" Rip Squeak (and family) had overly large ears that somehow seemed to disturb me (how do the ears not weigh their head down and back and break their necks), and I thought it strange that a little mouse had a people-shaped Raggedy Ann doll, to name a couple things I noticed.
Pros: Rich illustrations with a warm and glowing feel, combine with fun characters - AND CAKE! - in a children's story about doing something nice for someone you love.
Cons: The writing seems awkward and disjointed. There are details missing yet random information and plot inserted. I also feel like the characters are built up to feel a certain way on one page, yet react the opposite way (happy vs. sad, nervous vs. excited) on the next one.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is sweet, but not something you'd keep forever.
Educational Themes: This is a story for sharing and enjoying. The illustrations give you lots to explore - particularly with toddlers and preschoolers.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, animal characters, family
Date(s) Reviewed: January 2012
Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at barnesandnoble.com; and reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com.