Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mahalia Mouse...a fantastic tale

I was in my local bookstore on Friday night, checking out all of the children's books which were being promoted in the main shopping area before heading downstairs to the children's department proper. I saw it, and I tried to avoid it. The author being a well-known actor, I'll be honest, I had reservations about the book being any good. (My apologies to any actor-children's authors in the house). I read and flipped through a few other books, but the cover kept catching my eye - it wouldn't leave me alone. Finally, I gave in. I picked it up and studied the cover -- what beautiful artwork. What an adorable little creature. What wonderful detail without being overtly 'detaily'. Nice lettering...

Okay, okay, I reasoned with myself, no harm in giving it a quick flip-through. I do have to keep up with what's going on the market, and that includes all the slash-children's-bestselling-authors. Once I opened the book though, I was sunk. The story? Completely captivating, from beginning to end. The art? In a word, transcendent. The book is Mahalia Goes To College by John Lithgow, Illustrated by Igor Oleynikov. I was completely engrossed in this children's book with the same focus and intensity as if was reading a full-on novel, and at one point I wondered if the person across from the book table was privy to my eyes welling up during an emotional part of the story. I held the book higher to cover my face (it's hardcover, which made this easy) but I think it was still a bit noticeable, especially with the sudden bout of sniffles that came on soonafter. If this ever happens again, I think
I will continue to read, holding the book up to my face, while slowly walking away from the table. (Live and learn.) Anyway, this is the type of book which transcends the "for children" label, to me. I found it very inspirational - in words and in pictures - superstar author or no.

1 comment:

roz said...

I ABSOLUTELY love this book.
The rhyme is meter perfect and the story is just so original. Illustrations are gorgeous.
I have to say John Lithgow "had me" with "Marsupial Sue".
He does not disappoint.