The mice love cheese so their ears prick up when from ‘UP Above’ they hear the word… but there is no cheese! Did someone say ‘Cheese’ again? But where is the cheese? It is a puzzle and a disappointment…or is it?
This is a charming debut picture book where the concept and the illustrations work together to create an engaging whole. Taking the idea of cheese – a delicious food for the mice, here portrayed as a dapper crew – the author introduces the metaphorical and colloquial use that the human family employ. The result is, of course, confusion. This is a clever way of introducing word play and how we use language that brings colour to our conversations – but can have a potential for misunderstanding. The minimal text would suggest a very young audience – and certainly the illustrations with their solid shapes, clear outlines and direct colours would attract attention. However, it is older children who will be able to appreciate the joke and enjoy the juxtaposition of the tiny mice and the partying humans (only seen from a mouse point view as enormous legs and feet); children will recognise this perspective themselves and, indeed, similar situations in their own experience. There is no overt lesson – no preaching – just a celebration where a particular eavesdropped word finally leads to an unambiguous object about which no one, mice or humans, can argue. From the opening warning that ‘mowses’ love cheese to the final thank you, the party is cleverly and consistently imagined by the artist to bring the ideas presented by the author to visual life. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book that would be great fun to use whether in class and at home. Definitely one for the bookshelf.