Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake by Thomas Taylor and Jill Barton

The simplest stories can be some of the hardest to get right — if it’s too straightforward, it becomes boring; if it’s saddled with unnecessary fluff, it becomes fussy and try-hard. Thus, Little Mouse and the Big Cupcake is a breath of fresh air. Not only is this charming book executed well — with a good story that is complemented with understated pencil illustrations that look as sweet as the giant cupcake on the cover — but it also has a nice, feel-good message about the perks of sharing.

Basically, a little mouse finds an enormous cupcake, but doesn’t know how to carry it home. So, she asks some animals for help. The generosity of the mouse eventually leads her to get the (somewhat incidental) help that she needs, as well as a few new friends.

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I especially appreciated the way the author took pains to make the story read better by avoiding repetition and using a variety of (manageable) words: great for vocabulary building. E.g. ‘big’ is also expressed using ‘large’ and ‘wide’; ‘taste’, using ‘nibble’ and ‘try’; ‘yes’, using ‘of course’ and ‘okay’. The large, well-spaced typeface is also great for early readers. All in all, this is a good read that should appeal to most kids.

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