Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-10-27
- Reviewer: Staff
Meschenmoser’s story opens as a wheel of yellow cheese rolls off its wagon, hurtles off a cliff, and lands on a branch outside a squirrel’s home. In the same sort of misidentification that drove Meschenmoser’s Waiting for Winter, Mr. Squirrel concludes that the yellow cheese is the moon, and worries that he’ll be fingered as its thief: “He’d be arrested and thrown in prison.” A silent spread pictures the squirrel’s fears with mordant humor as he appears in a small prison uniform, reflecting remorsefully as his human cellmate works on a piece of embroidery. (Further inspection reveals a miniature squirrel-sized latrine along the back wall.) The action heats up as a hedgehog, billy goat, and crew of mice join the fray (further crowding the imaginary prison cell of the conscience-stricken squirrel) until they can work out how to put the cheese back where it belongs. Meschenmoser’s soft pencil portraits of the squirrel’s inner fears teeter right at the sweet spot between anguish and humor. The story’s deepest pleasure comes from the contrast between its ever-more-ridiculous scenarios and the artist’s solemn, classically proportioned drafting style. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
The big cheese
This charming book by Sebastian Meschenmoser has the feel of a classic fable. Mr. Squirrel and the Moon begins with an illustration of a large yellow circle of cheese that bounces out of a wheelbarrow, shoots down a hillside and soars off a cliff.
Where-oh-where does it land? You guessed it—on a slender limb on Mr. Squirrel’s tree. You can imagine Mr. Squirrel’s surprise at finding the moon on his branch, and what if someone thinks he’s stolen it? He worries he’ll be put in jail.
Determined to rid himself of the moon, he manages to shove it off the branch and onto the ground—where it lands on Mrs. Hedgehog and gets stuck to her quills. When a billy goat happens along and tries to free her, he impales the moon—with the hedgehog attached—against a nearby tree. Mr. Squirrel watches in dismay as a swarm of bees and a mischief of mice smell the moon and go to town, eating all but a sliver.
Then the goat rigs up a slingshot that flings the sliver of moon into the sky. As the three friends sit and stare at the crescent moon above, Mr. Squirrel trusts it will soon return to its old self again. This clever romp is a perfect bedtime book.