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Children's Literature Reviews
Item 1 of 1

Goodbye, Mousie
by Robie H. Harris ; illustrated by Jan Ormerod.
Contributor biographical information
Publisher description
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2001.
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 24 cm.


A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

Best Books:

Best Children's Books of the Year, 2002 ; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Books About Trauma, Tragedy and Loss, 2002 ; Children's Book Council; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2002 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 ; H.W. Wilson; United States
Parent's Guide to Children's Media, 2001 ; Parentís Guide to Childrenís Media, Inc.; United States
Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 2001 ; Cahners; United States
Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 2001 ; Cahners; United States

Awards, Honors, Prizes:

Cuffies: Children's Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 2001 Honorable Mention Best Treatment of a Social Issue United States

Reading Measurement Programs:

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Lower Grade
Book Level 2
Accelerated Reader Points 0.5

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.
Adult Directed
Lexile Measure 140

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level K-2
Reading Level 3
Title Point Value 2
Lexile Measure AD 140


Ilene Cooper (Booklist, Sep. 1, 2001 (Vol. 98, No. 1))
A little boy wakes up one morning and tickles his pet mouse's tummy, but Mousie doesn't move. So begins this story for the very youngest about the death of a pet. Daddy tells the boy that Mousie is dead, but the child prefers to think that Mousie is just very, very tired. Slowly, after lots of tears and many questions, the boy comes to terms with the fact that his pet is gone. He plans for the funeral by painting a picture of himself to put inside the shoebox that will hold Mousie. He will get another pet, but not right away. Ormerod's honest pictures, black-pencil line drawings with watercolor washes on buff-colored paper, capture the emotions of the situation and chronicle the boy's move from disbelief to acceptance. The endpapers, on which Mousie cavorts, show what a delightful little pet he was. The choice of a first-person narrative has a tendency to distance listeners because the boy often sounds older than he looks. Still, this covers all the bases of a frequently asked-for subject. Category: Books for the Young--Fiction. 2001, Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $16. Ages 2-4.

Janet Crane Barley (Children's Literature)
One morning when a child tickles his pet Mousie's chin, Mousie won't wake up. Daddy tells him that Mousie is dead. The child insists Mousie is just sleeping and will wake up soon. Daddy explains that dead is very different from sleeping. The child says he's angry at Mousie and tears follow his anger. Daddy comforts him and they talk about why Mousie died. Then they make plans to bury the little pet. Mommy gives the child a shoebox to bury Mousie in. He decides to tuck in a bit of food, a toy car, a crayon and toy ring so Mousie won't be bored, and a picture of himself so Mousie won't be lonely. He decorates the box by painting on bright wiggly stripes. Mommy digs a hole for the shoebox and lights two sparklers on the grave. The child cries a bit then tells Mousie that he is mad and sad and will miss him--a eulogy of sorts. After the funeral the child thinks about the fact the mouse is dead and maybe someday he will get another mouse. "But not just yet." This book effectively captures the experience of what happens when a loved one dies. The child goes through anger, denial, grief and acceptance and his parents gently help him understand and deal with what happened. This well-told story would be quite helpful when one needs to explain death to a child. 2001, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing Division, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8.

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2002)
When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up." A small boy's reaction to his pet mouse's death is handled with great sensitivity by his parents and with great skill by author Robie Harris. "I have something very sad to tell you," the boy's father says with his arm around the child. "Mouse is . . . dead." In this important and comforting story, the child expresses his anger, and then grief, with tears. But he also has other outlets as he prepares a box in which to bury Mousie, putting in some of his pet's favorite things, and then goes through the ritual of a burial. His confusion and fear about death are also touched upon. "Dead," says Daddy, "is very different from sleeping." Harris's text is an exemplary treatment of a difficult subject for children and adults alike. Jan Ormerod created her full-color, full-page art in black pencil lines with watercolor washes. CCBC categories: Understanding Oneself and Others; Picture Books for Younger Children. 2001, Margaret K. McElderry, 24 pages, $16.00. Ages 3-6.

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2001 (Vol. 69, No. 13))
A little boy's pet mouse dies, and he and his family cope, in this gently done true-life tale by a team that has such an elegant grasp of the workings of the minds and hearts of children. A little boy fiercely denies that his pet mouse is dead, despite his father's remonstrations, and then he gets mad at Mousie, and finally sad. The boy and his parents put Mousie in a box with some of his favorite things-carrots, a piece of jam toast, and a toy or two-and make a headstone for him out of driftwood. Readers can hear the boy working things out for himself, that Mousie won't ever come back, that grief and longing are what he feels. And in the last frame, where he plays with Mousie's wheel and a toy mouse while wearing his mouse slippers, he thinks about getting another mouse-"But not just yet." Ormerod makes her images from a close-up, child-high perspective, with a fresh, clean palette: her headshot of the child bawling wildly at the realization of the truth of Mousie's demise is touching and tender, as is the gentle comfort of his father. Not since "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney "(1971) has there been such an affecting and satisfying story about the death of a pet. 2001, McElderry, $16.00. Category: Picture book. Ages 4 to 8. © 2001 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Harris (It's Perfectly Normal) and Ormerod (Miss Mouse Takes Off) admirably and successfully tackle a child's first encounter with death, through the loss of a beloved pet. "When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up," says the unnamed narrator, a preschool-age boy. Author and artist both possess an acute sense of the boy's emotional trajectory. After his first outpouring of grief and anger (which Ormerod depicts in a stunning facial close-up), the boy focuses on preparations for Mousie's funeral, busily filling the coffin with mementos and then decorating it with "wiggly stripes." But his composure crumbles when he discovers a piece of toast missing from his plate: "Where did it go? Did it die too?" Acceptance finally comes after he and his parents bury Mousie, and it is authentically childlike: "So, maybe someday, I'll get another mouse," the boy says, stretched across the floor and contemplatively dawdling with Mousie's exercise wheel. "But not just yet." The artist's fluid pencil lines underscore the vulnerability of the boy and the poignancy of his story. Uplifting details (the boy's mouse slippers, a stuffed mouse toy) offer a glimmer of hope, and the solidity at the heart of her characterizations—especially in the portraits of the narrator seeking comfort from his parents—will be immensely reassuring to young readers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) "

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October 2001 (Vol. 55, No. 2))
Many will guess right from the title that thereís a pet funeral in the offing, and that is indeed the sad outcome when a boyís beloved white mouse doesnít wake up one morning. Mousieís young owner succumbs to grief and anger, but his dadís explanations and his momís assistance with a burial plan help the boy understand and deal with his petís passing. Itís good to see a recognition that it hurts to lose small pets, too, and the text is bare-bones simple and calmly direct, covering a range of developmentally appropriate bereavement issues (including permanence--ďWhen I wake up tomorrow morning, Mousie wonít be hereĒ--and the possibility of succession--ďSo, maybe someday, Iíll get another mouseĒ). The book glides so smoothly through the steps, in fact, that the story is suspiciously tidy (whatís going to happen when the narrator misses the toy car heís burying with Mousie more than he misses Mousie?) and less involving than instructive (especially for baffled parents of young mourners); thereís little discussion of Mousieís life and ways, so the audience never really gets a sense of the narratorís loss as they do in, for instance, Viorstís The Tenth Good Thing about Barney. Ormerodís illustrations, especially the Mousie gallery on the endpapers (where Mousie is an inquisitive nose-twitching charmer), do their best to fill that gap: the protagonistís toy mouse and mouse-face slippers emphasize his involvement with his small friend, and the pictures treat Mousieís still form tastefully and with respect as heís swaddled lovingly in the narratorís old t-shirt awaiting his interment. Though itís overpowered by its purpose, that purpose will undoubtedly make it useful, especially when the preschool class pet goes the way of all mice. Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 2001, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2001, McElderry, 26p, $16.00. Ages 3-6 yrs.


Death Fiction.
Grief Fiction.
Mice Fiction.
Pets Fiction.
LanguageCall NumberLCCNDewey DecimalISBN/ISSN
English (eng) PZ7.H2436 Go 2001
99089167 [E]
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