Today I am focusing on a few picture books books involving mice and Christmas. Odd combination I’ll hear you say, but one that is nonetheless recurrent!

The first two have been favourites in the Library Mice household since my children were little. The third one is another great Little Tiger Press offering for toddlers and the last book presented here is a modern classic.

Christmas Eve
Fiona Watt (text) & Rachel Wells (illustrations)(Usborne)

I really liked Usborne’s Touchy-Feely series when my children were tiny. I think the simplicity of the stories and the illustrations create a winning combination which is very well pitched for toddlers. This was one my children’s favourite books when they was little and we still have it in our Christmas books collection, even though most of our other board books have been boxed. This is the story of a group of little mice who work for Father Christmas and prepare the house for his arrival once everyone is gone to bed. It became unavailable but Usborne has reissued with a new cover and a new title (the book was originally called Christmas Mice, which is the edition we have).

 This is a charming little book, full of bright colours and there are lots of little touchy-feely bits, sparkly foil and lots of different textures for babies and toddlers to experiment with. Suitable for one year-olds and above.


Maisy’s Christmas Eve
Lucy Cousins
(Walker Books)

It’s Christmas Eve and Maisy has invited all her friends to her home to celebrate Christmas and they must find their way through the snow: Cyril has made snowshoes to his feet while Charlie and Tallulah are sledding. Eddie is struggling through the snow which is getting deeper and deeper. Once they reach Maisy’s house, there is much to do and everyone is helping, either by cooking or decorate the house and tree. But where is Eddie has not arrived? The friends are worried and go looking for him. All will end well, of course, and Christmas will be celebrated with joy!

The Maisy franchise has got to be one of Britain’s biggest exports in the children’s book business. Maybe there are a few too many Maisy books but with its bright primary colours and bold outlines the illustrations are really toddler-friendly and Maisy is a sweet, lovable heroine. I bought this book when it first came out in 2003 and my son was just 1, and we have loved it ever since. It is short, sweet, full of good intentions and gets you write into the merry spirit of Christmas. I can’t fault it for as a classical Christmas picture books for tots.


The Very Merry Mice
Jack Tickle
(Little Tiger Press)

It’s Christmas Eve and all the mice are full of cheer! Those cheeky little mice are determined to have some fun as they get ready for Santa’s visit! Little readers will be able to follow them in their mischief and they tumble in the snow, swing through the holly and pull the crackers. Lovely pop-up elements help each the story literally burst off each double spread.

 If you have a toddler at home and you have not discovered Jack Tickle’s books yet, you are missing a treat! Bright, lively toddler-friendly illustrations and engaging rhyming text (whether it is his own or in collaboration) create a winning combination which I am yet to be disappointed by! Add to this the pop-up elements in the Peek-A-Book Pops-Ups series and you are on to a big, big winner. Definitely my favourite Christmas 2010 release for toddlers!

Sent for review by publisher


The Church Mice at Christmas
Graham Oakley

Part of the series Church Mice (which I will admit I knew nothing about) this title focuses on the mice and Samson the cat’s attempt at raising funds for a Christmas party. First the mice try to raffle the cat, but that does not quite go as it should and they go on to make a few other rather flawed plans. But an unexpected encounter will eventually help the mice enjoy a Christmas feast after all.

This book was originally published in 1980 but has been re-released this year by Templar. Having not been brought up in this country, I was not aware of this series but it seems it has quite a following and many will welcome this reissue. This is definitely a picture book for older readers. It is text-heavy and the illustrations are definitely more mature (my youngest would definitely be scared by the picture of what the parson is watching on TV for example). But I really like this story which is full of witty humour. The long-suffering cat is particularly endearing (just look at him dressed as a reindeer!). It is very British, very quirky but it is hugely enjoyable. One that I would recommend for seven year-olds and above.

Sent for review by publisher