Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mice with Personality to Spare

Kevin Henkes author of such books as Chester's Way, A Weekend with Wendell, Chrysanthemum, Lily's Plastic Purse, and Owen

Today I thought I would do a review of a few books by author Kevin Henkes. I love his "Mouse Books." I was given a copy of Chester's Way when I was in college studying to be a teacher and fell in love with the characters Henkes created. All of Henkes' mice are about kindergarten age and they have little adventures and trials learning to share, make new friends, deal with teasing, the birth of a sibling, and getting along with others.

These books have great illustrations and little details that bring the mice to life. Little dialogue lines in the illustrations also adds life to his mouse characters. I think my favorite character so far is Lily. Lily is courageous and outrageous, loving everything from squirt guns to costumes, she is a tom boy with a bit of flair. Equally lovable though are the other mouse character of Chester, Wilson, Owen, Wendell, Sophie, Chrysanthemum, and Julius. These books make a great read aloud for 3-5 year olds, especially children starting school for the first time. The stories are very easy to relate to and can be used as a teaching tool for many of the manners children are learning at that age.

In Chester's Way, Chester and his best friend Wilson always do things their way. When Lily moves into their neighborhood they do not like her because she does things differently. Despite the boys not playing with her for awhile she still helps them when a some older boys were teasing them. After that the three share their knowledge with each other teaching one another the things they like and can do (i.e. tie shoes). The three become best friends, until Victor moves into town that is. This is a great story about learning to make friends with someone who does things a little differently than you do. Again the illustrations are great and there is a lot to look at on every page that makes the story come to life. You really feel like you know Chester and Owen from the illustrations. I would recommend for children 3-5.

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