'Mike the Mouse' Book Review: A Story for Children by a 7-Year Old
‘Mike the Mouse’ is written and illustrated by Soraia Fernandes, aged 7. She has always loved to write and draw and was keen to take part in a competition arranged by her primary school in conjunction with a children’s publisher, Peachick Books, encouraging children to write for children. This was her first attempt at publishing a story.
Weeks of Waiting
Not for one moment expecting to win, but impatient to find out who had, she said,
‘I wonder when we’ll find out who won. Even if it isn’t me, I’d like to read the story which does win.’
Within a week of that, she was overwhelmed with surprise when, at a school assembly, the winner was revealed and two copies of the completed book were awarded, one to her and one to the school. Although daunted at the time by her sudden ‘fame’ and being asked to sign the copies, she is proud of her achievement and looking forward to any sales which might ensue.
Mike was a young mouse who lived in a field. In the nest with him were his parents, a sister and a baby brother. It was important for the oldest ones to take turns at night to be on the lookout for danger.
When it was Mike’s turn, he became bored and thought it would be fun to pretend there was a cat approaching the nest. The result of his continued pretence made sure that he learnt his lesson never to lie again.
The writing style is light and fun, guaranteed to delight any child or adult reading it or being read to. It contains danger, creating suspense. There is a small amount of text on each page with a variety of fonts to match the dialogue. This makes for ease of reading and creates a steady pace from page to page.
Repetition of some phrases at each progression of the story encourages the reader to predict and feel part of the story. It also gives an opportunity for younger ones to recognise some words and appreciate the rhythm of the narrative.
There is a wide variety of vocabulary, adding colour and humour, but nothing too difficult for the average young reader to decipher.
The story deals with family relationships, the hierarchy of family, how the parents protect the young and how they all rely on each other for safety. It portrays quick thinking and bravery. Mike’s reaction to what happens and his realisation that he’s been naughty reflects a lesson well learnt.
This teaches that it’s not good to lie, by giving a gentle example of what can happen when one does. It shows how other people can be hurt by something which starts out as an innocent prank; a good example to young children.
The drawings are fun. They include details which add humour as well as information. It’s a good idea for children to be able to discuss what’s on the page; what the characters look like, what they are wearing, what they do and how they think.
Just for fun, Miss Fernandes gives the reader an extra task. We have to find two of the characters hiding on separate pages. This challenge is given before the story starts, an excellent way of encouraging someone to read, cleverly providing a purpose to lead them into the story.
This is a charming and humorous story with a presentation oozing fun and colour. It is short, excellent for a bedtime story, and would make the perfect birthday or Christmas present to anyone from the age of 2 years upwards.
As a writer and retired teacher, I find it encouraging that schools are giving younger pupils the opportunity to become writers, thus promoting the value of choosing appropriate words to express fresh ideas.
I agree with the publishers' words on the inside back cover,
"You are never too young to be an author…. let your imagination come to life in a real book!"
The age of the author is apparent from the start. If children see that another child has achieved this, then they might be encouraged to write down all those imaginative ideas whizzing around inside their heads. After all, the younger an author begins, the longer they have to practise and perfect their art and, who knows, a future best-seller could be in the making…..
‘Mike the Mouse’, written and illustrated by Soraia Fernandes
Publisher: Peachick Books at http://www.peahenpublishing.com/self-published-childrens-books-detail.php?Mike-the-Mouse-19
available from 1st December 2018
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© 2018 Ann Carr