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Mo and Beau
by Vanya Nastanlieva
AGES: 3-7
PAGES: 36
SIZE: 7.75 x 7.75
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: 17.95 Cdn, 15.95 US
HARDCOVER: 9781927018637

Picture Books Blogger:

 

"Meet Mo and Beau, two instantly loveable characters. Very different in size and stature, but in many ways just the same.

 

'Little Mouse wants to play. But big bear Beau is tired and getting ready for a nap. Luckily, Mo finds the perfect way to have fun: by copying Beau! Stretching, yawning, bristling his fur – Mo tries it all.' Simply Read Books

 

Written and illustrated by Vanya Nastanlieva, this touching and humorous tale allows the reader to both release and embrace their inner child.

 

Nastanlieva was awarded ‘highly commended’ at the 2011 Macmillan Children’s Book Prize and it’s easy to see why. From the cover alone, we instantly had a soft spot for these two opposing characters.

 

The technique of raw, big bold strokes used by Nastanlieva, highlights Beau’s sheer strength and size and the more intricate details she uses for Mo, makes those visual differences even more apparent.

 

After all, what on earth could a teeny tiny mouse have in common with a big brown bear? Not much perhaps, but Mo mimics everything that Beau does and manages to win him over.

 

This is a great book to read aloud with a younger or emerging reader. With minimal text and a great bed time theme, it can’t fail to please any child or weary parent."

 

Fab Book Reviews:

 

"In a recent review of Jory John’s Goodnight Already! I noted that the ‘can’t go to sleep’ theme in picture books has been done multiple times as it makes for fun storytelling. Here, in Nastanlieva’s beautiful Mo and Beau, a similarly-themed story is told in a fresh voice to great success.

 

The pared-down nature of the story- with just a few words per page of little Mo mimicking big sleepy Beau’s actions- really allows for the author’s wonderful illustrations to shine. What I adore each time I read through this picture book is the juxtaposition of the coarse, bristly, wild nature of Beau the bear with the lighter, fluid- almost precarious- depiction of tiny Mo the mouse. The contrast in actions of the two characters is done wonderfully here- which makes their final (adorable) sleeping pose all the sweeter. Mo is drawn with such verve and expressiveness: this little mouse, along with Mini Grey’s Hermelin, may be one of the most winsome mice I have had the pleasure of meeting in a picture book.

 

Overall, this is a lovely picture book. It would work well for a younger storytime audience- perhaps for a toddler one- to read aloud and have fun with acting out all of Mo’s little-big actions. It would also work, as per the book description, as a quiet-down or ‘get ready for bed’ story, if read in a gradually hushing voice. I found Nastanlieva’s illustrations endearing and am keen to go back and read her picture book debut, The New Arrival. Do take a perusal of author/illustrators Nastanlieva’s online portfolio if you can; it’s well worth the look!

 

Mo and Beau is published by Canadian (Vancouver-based) publishing house Simply Read Books. I have read many titles from this publisher (titles I have reviewed, titles I have come across during my years of work at the library and titles I have personally purchased), and they seem to have a wonderful knack for putting forward distinct, innovative and exceptionally illustrated titles."

 

My Friend Lucy blog:

Mo and Beau is just a big slice of sweetness. Mo the mouse really wants to play and he lures Beau the bear in with everyone’s favourite game of copycat. Everything Beau does, Mo does too. There is fur bristling, stretching and scratching. While it might seem that Mo is in control, it turns out that Beau is one step ahead all along.

 

These two cuties will have your audience joining in with their game, be prepared for teeth showing and roaring (or possibly squeaking).