We've made some new friends here at my house, friends whom the kids absolutely adore. And if it was possible, they'd invite them over for a snack and play date. Would you like to meet them too? Think of Mouse as a phlegmatic personality: rational, steady, kind, laid-back, and content. Now contrast him with Mole . . . ah, how to describe Mole. Well, he needs coddling. He's not the brightest bulb in the package. But he's endearing. And it's Mole's personality that drives the light humor in the Mouse and Mole tales, the delightful creation of author Joyce Dunbar and illustrator James Mayhew.
The illustrations first won over the Mister and the Missus, and now we find ourselves saying to each other "Hello, Daffodil!" or "Meet Humphrey Stick." Yes, the illustrations made us stick around to hear the stories and to discover the illustrator: none other than James Mayhew, already a household favorite. You see, we first stumbled on Mouse and Mole courtesy of our dear friends Rich and Lori and the DVD they gave us. The only other time I've recommend that you check out or purchase a DVD was Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit series. So that should tell you something about the quality of this set of vignettes. Since each story is brief, you don't have to read (or watch) the entire book (or DVD) in one sitting, which makes for a wonderful bedtime collection and a wonderful collection for a maturing reader. And, my personal favorite, each vignette depicts a particular season, so when you've completed the whole series, you've experienced a spring, summer, autumn, and winter Mouse and Mole.
I especially think that this review from Practical Parenting expresses the our affinity for Mouse and Mole: "Warm and witty illustrations . . . perfect to snuggle up with on a chilly afternoon."
I also like the subtle character development in the Mouse and Mole series. Just read it! And you'll find yourself chuckling not only with the storyline but with the images they create. We all know a Mouse. And we all know a Mole. And we've experienced uncannily similar situations with each. I guess the best way to explain the series is likening it to a British version of our American friends Frog and Toad. In fact, the dedication of the first Mouse and Mole says "for dear old Frog and Toad" with the illustration of Mouse and Mole reading Frog and Toad books.
Note: I was grieved to discover that this wonderful series has fallen out of print. However, do check your local library, as ours holds the DVD collection. Also, I had no trouble acquiring the complete set from online bookstores. But please don't confuse them with a more recent collection listed under the same title yet written and illustrated by a completely different person.