September 2010, Jonathan Cape
32 pages, Paperback
Picture book, Children's, 5+
Friendship bonds, what happens when friends break up,
Summary from Random House Children's Books
In a house by the sea there happily live a dog, a cat and a mouse. Well, happily enough until a stranger knocks on the door one night, offering them each a special free gift. Who is this mysterious salesman blowing into their little world and turning it upside-down? And can their happy home survive his trouble-making gifts?
Before the stranger arrives, the story explains how peacefully the friends lived, how they all had their own roles in the household chores. Then the salesman appears. Personally the dog, cat and mouse are a little dense - who on earth lets a random stranger sleep in their house? (I do normally suspend my belief, but sometimes practical thoughts come into mind). I think that the salesman was very pushy, an outward personality who wouldn't take no for an answer. He doesn't work on disrupting the friendship immediately - naturally the animals would treat with him suspicion. So when the friends are tired, the evil stranger makes remark about what they all do - remarks which coupled with feeling uncomfortable from poor sleep sets the friends against each other. A near tragedy pulls them all together again, and they send the salesman packing. They learn there was nothing wrong in how they lived their lives, but they make small adjustments which keep everyone smiling. I feel there's a good message in this book, it shows that criticism is healthy for us and we can improve by heeding it and making small changes to our lives. The illustrations brought the story to live (and made me want cheese fondue!) The mouse is my favourite character. I would like the cat....but I have strong dislike for black cats stemming from nightmares about them.
Bonds of true friendship can never be broken permanently.
Try Gator by Randy Cecil