When Iris Espinosa goes to the cinema, she doesn’t expect to meet a small mouse. And she certainly doesn’t expect that mouse to stow away in her sweater pocket. At home, Iris is delighted by the mouse’s daring, which reminds her of the actor Douglas Fairbanks. And so begin the adventures of a sweet, plucky mouse named Douglas, who must overcome obstacles aplenty, from hungry cats to broom-wielding humans, as she journeys across the tall rooftops of Bloomville to return to her movie-theater home. Full of high-stakes chases, clever escapes, and valiant rescues, Randy Cecil’s story is a cinematic and meticulously crafted celebration of courage and friendship.
Black-and-white oil illustrations.
Scholastic Reading Counts
Douglas Fairbanks was a star of silent film, known for playing dashing rogues like Don Juan, Zorro, and Robin Hood. “Douglas Fairbanks” is also the name of a small female mouse in this adorable book. The tiny rodent is given that name by Iris Espinosa, a young girl who picks up the mouse at the Majestic Cinema and names it after her favorite screen actor. That chance meeting is the first of a series of adventures for Douglas, who goes on wild adventures like her namesake, except on a smaller scale: riding in coat pockets, fleeing hungry felines, and swinging from clotheslines. Told in four acts, each page has no more than two paragraphs. The text includes no dialogue, as if it too were a silent movie. The duotone artwork also recalls these black-and-white films of the past. Each act is introduced with a dramatic two-page panoramic spread of the city block where Douglas has her adventures. Above the jagged rooftops are clouds that look like kernels of freshly popped popcorn. The text is accompanied by more intimate circular illustrations, each one a peephole into the charming town of Bloomville. The story takes place over a few days but feels like the adventure of a lifetime. Cecil’s tale is reminiscent of Kate DiCamillo, Beverly Cleary, or any other author exploring the inner lives of animals and how they interact with a human world that can be big and scary, as well as full of love and friendship.
A mouse skitters through the town of Bloomville (also the setting of Lucy, rev. 9/16) after being swept out of the safety and comfort of the cinema where she resides. The mouse’s adventures begin when she falls asleep in a young film buff’s cozy sweater pocket, and the child unknowingly brings the stowaway critter home. The child names the mouse Douglas in honor of her favorite movie star, the swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks; before long, however, the girl’s older sister reclaims that same cozy sweater and inadvertently takes Douglas back outside. From this point forward, Douglas has close calls with humans, cats, and clothes-lines as she sees new sights, meets another mouse friend, explores city streets, and zigzags through danger while making her way home. References to the “click, click, click” of a film projector and 1920s matinee idols suggest a historical set-ting, and textured, oval-shaped grayscale illustrations add to the story’s old-timey, cinematic feel. The book is organized into four “acts,” and repetition is employed to interweave story lines and characters. The plot is well paced and smartly pre-sented, with no more than a few sentences on each page. A thoughtful balance of image and text allows for gentle humor to emerge as readers follow the intrepid mouse’s adventures.