Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Mouse Mansion

The Mouse Mansion

Karina Schaapman
Picture book
For ages 6 to 8
Penguin, 2014   ISBN: 978-0803740495

The Mouse Mansion is a rather hodgepogish collection of apartments and rooms. There are eleven floors in the mansion, though the floors don’t quite work the way they do in most mansions. The reason for this is that the residents, who are mice, have their own way of arranging things. It might look a little strange to you and me, but it works very well for them.

   Julia lives in a small apartment at the top of the building with her mother. Her best friend, Sam, lives in the middle of the building with his very large family. Together the young mice have all kinds of grand adventures in their strange building. They love to play under the stairs. It their special place and it is where they keep their treasures in a locked box under a loose floor plank.

   Once a week the ragman comes to the Mouse Mansion and Sam and Julia help him take out the clothes and bundles of newspapers. The ragman appreciates their help and gives them twenty-five cents, which they put in their treasure box.  

   One day Julia goes to Sam’s apartment to discover that he now has three new siblings. The triplets are very sweet, but they do “cry all the time and they poop a lot.” Julia cannot help laughing when she sees Sam’s sad face. She and Sam then help Sam’s mother to change three diapers. The task done, the two friends are heading out to play when they remember that Sam’s cousin, Sophie, is celebrating her birthday. They get to Sophie’s house just in time to have some birthday cake with the little mouse. When Sophie starts to get tired Julia reads her a story so that Sophie will have her nap.

   The next day hoisting time begins. This is when the mice hoist all the stores they are going to need in the cold months to the storage loft at the top of the house. Julia, Sam and the other mice children are not allowed to use the stairs for a whole week, which makes it very hard for the little mice to have adventures.

   When the week is over, Julia and Sam are eager to get back to their games, but first they have to do some chores. Sam has to do the family laundry and Julia decides to help him. The little mice never expect that such a simple job can go horribly wrong.

   In this delightful picture book we are taken into the homes and the lives of two young mice who live in a fascinating mouse building with many other mice. We meet their family members and neighbors, share in their adventures, go on errands with them, and watch as they solve the problems that they encounter.

   The author of this book built her Mouse Mansion herself and filled it with all the things that her little handmade fabric mice would need. By the time she was finished, the Mouse Mansion had more than one hundred rooms. The story is illustrated throughout the book using close-up photos of the rooms inside the Mansion. Readers of all ages will enjoy exploring the Mouse Mansion, and will be fascinated by the cunning details that fill every photograph.