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One Winter Night
by Jennifer Lloyd
Illustrated by Lynn Ray
AGES: 3 to 5
PAGES: 32
SIZE: 10.5 x 8.5
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: US $16.95, Cdn $17.95
HARDCOVER: 978-1-894965-48-4

Globe & Mail - Susan Perren

Ten grey mice decked out in red-and-white scarves and skates made of holly leaves are the focus of this exquisite clothbound book of free verse, which begins with the lines: "One winter night/ Under moonlight/ Out of their nest, / So full of zest, /Climbed ten grey mice/ Onto the ice." In a chorus line of sorts, their tails en air, the mice enter the blue-cold world of night on a frozen Canadian pond.

 

On page after stunning page of poetry and accompanying illustrations, the mice encounter other denizens of the winter night. The first is an owl, "On the prowl." Fear causes one little mouse to jump right out of his skates: "Hurry, hurry,/ Scurry, scurry,/ Went one grey mouse/ Back to his house./ Nine little mice/ Pranced down the ice."

 

Successively entering the picture, so to speak, are a leaping squirrel, a flapping bat, a rat on cross-country skis, a hare with a hockey stick, a skunk referee with a whistle in his mouth, a roaming mole goalie, a fox, its paw on a curling stone, slipping on icy rocks, a pair of deer skating judges, and a snoring bear with a Canadian flap tucked under his arm. 

 

One by one, in the manner of "Ten Green Bottles Hanging on the Wall," the mice, hurrying, scurrying, leave the scene, until just one mouse remains. His fate, far from his house, is the cat, the "purring cat,/ furry and fat," and his reaction to the cat is to retrace the path that got him to this point - a flight that offers readers yet another view of the night creatures, and opportunities to count backward and forward. The mouse's journey ends when he sneaks into his house, joining nine others safely asleep on their bough beds.