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Starred review from January 30, 2017
Higgins’s premise couldn’t be simpler: Rupert the mouse sets out to create a wordless picture book (“They’re very artistic”), but his talkative sidekicks, Thistle and Nibbs, have more than a little trouble with the concept of wordlessness. “This book is going to be so much fun!” Thistle says. “Quiet, you!” Rupert yells. All three mice will be familiar to readers of Hotel Bruce, and, here, Rupert’s outsize Groucho glasses and moustache help to establish his credibility as an artistic director. “This book will be more than fun. It will be visually stimulating,” he explains. “What does ‘vishery strigulating’ mean?” asks Nibbs. It just keeps on going like that, with ever-less-helpful suggestions from Nibbs and Thistle (“A cucumber!”) and ever-more-unhinged fury from Rupert (“Stop filling my brilliant piece of wordless literature with nonsense!”). Of course the project marches right off a cliff, but watching it go is entertainment gold. The story’s backdrops are as polished as the characters, Higgins breathes emotional life into his characters, both visually and verbally, and his smart, laugh-out-loud comedy is expertly paced. Ages 3–5. Agent: Paul Rodeen; Rodeen Literary Management.
Starred review from April 1, 2017
PreS-Gr 3-Rupert the mouse is excited to finally have the opportunity to create his very own book. He decides that it will be wordless, since wordless books are -very artistic.- Rupert cannot wait to get started. However, his dream project is interrupted by two well-meaning but extremely chatty little friends. They are so excited to offer Rupert ideas that they do not even realize that they are filling up the book with words! Rupert becomes increasingly frustrated as things quickly spin out of control. Adding animals to the story? Superheroes? A chain saw? Rupert is flabbergasted! Will his wordless picture book ever come to fruition? Set in the forest, with mice as main characters, this picture book is sure to amuse. The text, appearing in a large, handwritten font and in speech bubbles, is well spaced and easy to read. The giggle-inducing conversations among the characters are fast-paced and witty. The illustrations are large and comical, inviting readers to fully experience the range of emotions displayed by the characters. VERDICT This hilarious and fun read-aloud will be a hit at storytime. Kids will be laughing out loud.-Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Starred review from February 15, 2017
Having failed in the hospitality business due to a rude and surly bear (Hotel Bruce, 2016), mice Rupert, Nibbs, and Thistle decide to go into publishing. Rupert decides to star in his very own wordless book: the emphasis is on "wordless."..as in no words whatsoever. Nibbs and Thistle agree--loudly and vociferously. Speech bubbles proliferate at quantum speed despite Rupert's creative direction: "Quiet, you!" Instead of collaborating on a "visually stimulating" book, the head mouse finds himself besieged by a thicket of words (854, more or less). Cameo appearances by unibrowed Bruce and one of his goslings from the Mother Bruce books lend a gratifying sense of continuity to this wacky sylvan universe. Higgins' visual puns and artistic high jinks power the escalating absurdity of Rupert's blithely obtuse sidekicks. The hilariously smart dialogue reinforces the sight gags scattered throughout. The helpful observation that "we need to have strong illustrations" is followed by an image of the two literal-minded mice flexing muscle-bound body parts; Captain Quiet, Thistle and Nibbs' proposed "Vocabulary Vigilante," is a champion word-fighter and proponent of onomatopoeia ("POW / BLAM / KABOOM")--and not at all what the creative director had envisioned. From Captain Quiet's clever belt buckle ("SH") to Rupert's gaping tonsil shots, Higgins has once again drawn up a winner. (Picture book. 4-9)
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PublisherDisney Book Group
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