Looking at a children’s book from the perspective of my children is always a tricky thing because their reading tastes continually change as they get older. What appealed to my oldest, who is now a teenager, when he was quite young, is not the same thing that has ever appealed to my youngest, who is now nine. Yet, I believe I’ve read enough of them (hundreds) by now, with them, that I can say that not all picture books are created equal. For one to be good, it needs to provoke the imagination, both with text and illustrations, engage as many senses as possible, and basically, just be fun. If it provokes thought, that’s a bonus. I Can Be Quiet As A Church Mouse, written by Stephen Bevan and illustrated by Jeff Harvey, is a picture book that does pretty good on both counts.
“I used to have trouble sitting reverently,” reads the first page of the book, “so my mom said I should be as quiet as a church mouse.” The rest of the twenty-seven pages of this book strive to answer the question in terms of what young Stephen Bevan imagined a church mouse to be. “Is it a spy?” he asks on one page. “Is it sneaky?” he asks on another. Each illustration depicts a mouse in the various scenarios he imagines, and they really are cute illustrations that are just detailed enough to draw in a 3 – 6 year-old child without overwhelming him or her. The question itself is a good one to provoke imagination in a child, since no one actually seems to know what a church mouse really is.
If there were one thing that might confuse a child, it is that the author refers to himself as “I” at the beginning. The fact that it’s the author speaking, as opposed to the main character of the book, a red-headed little boy, isn’t clear. As an adult, and someone who’s conversed with the author via email, I understand that, but a child might not.
Who Would Like Quiet As A Church Mouse?
Anyone, no matter the Christian denomination, who has kids who are toddler age on up to about 6 or 7.
Do You Want to Win a Copy of Quiet As A Church Mouse?
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Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Cedar Fort, in exchange for my honest opinion.