Author: Tracey Campbell Pearson
Pages: 32
Publisher/Date: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/2004
ISBN: 0374351570
Age Levels: 4-8

Book Review

In this fresh and original tale, Tracey Campbell Pearson explores a common childhood problem and offers up a deliciously satisfying solution. Myrtle, a mouse, has an idyllic existence. She has a loving mother and father, a sweet baby brother, a room full of toys, and shelves full of books. Life is wonderful . . . until Frances moves next door. Frances is m-e-a-n. Frances dresses up like a monster and scares Myrtle (and her baby brother). She plants fake snakes in Myrtle's yard, steals Myrtle's ball, and generally makes Myrtle's life miserable.

When Myrtle begins spending her days in the closet, Myrtle's parents make an emergency call to Aunt Tizzy (who happens to be on safari in Africa ). Aunt Tizzy rushes to the rescue. She spends the day with Myrtle—in the closet—talking and giggling and playing.

Myrtle finally tells Aunt Tizzy about mean Frances. Aunt Tizzy tells Myrtle about mean lions in Africa.
"Weren't you scared?" asked Myrtle.
"Sure, but I wasn't going to let a few nasty lions keep me away from Africa." Aunt Tizzy said.
"What about when they roared mean lion roars?" whispered Myrtle.
"I told them to stop being rude, and if they continued, I simply roared back," replied Aunt Tizzy. "Or sometimes," she added, "I would just sing and dance until they were gone."
Aunt Tizzy's words have a powerful effect on Myrtle. She leaves the closet, grabs her toys and baby brother, and makes for the back yard. There she and her brother "wiggled and squiggled," laughed and roared, sang silly songs, and . . . ignored Frances.

Pearson's bright, colorful, watercolor illustrations capture perfectly the unfolding drama, Tizzy's exuberant personality, Myrtle's transformation, and the clever conclusion. Myrtle is a simple yet powerful tale that you will not want to miss.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2005 Education Oasis

About the Author

Tracey Campbell Pearson has written and illustrated many children's books. She lives in Vermont. Be sure to visit the author's website. Prepare to spend some time there! Your students may enjoy reading about the bookmaking process. There are bookmarks and coloring sheets to print.