Friday 5 September 2014


Miss Mousie's Blind Date

Love is in the air one spring day at the local deli when Miss Mousie notices a guy that makes her weak in the knees. Matt LaBatt, the water rat, / was such a handsome fellow! / His fur was black. His eyes were red. / His teeth were lemon yellow. Miss Mousie attempts flirting until Matt calls her fat. The despondent rodent hides away until she receives an invitation for a mystery date.

Trying to avoid more rejection, she decides to go in disguise, but after trudging through thistles, brambles, and rain, she arrives disheveled instead. Her appearance goes unnoticed by her mystery man, the tubby deli-owner mole, who, also putting vanity first, has not worn his spectacles. Over coffee and souffle, the pair agrees to be true to themselves.

The text surrounds delicate watercolor and gouache paintings reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, which add plenty of charm to this winsome rhyming tale. Pair with Carmen Agra Deedy's Martina the Beautiful Cockroach (2007) for another lesson in true love from wise animals.

--Leeper, Angela Copyright 2010 Booklist

BOOK REVIEW: Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Miss Mousie's Blind Date

Tim Beiser
Illustrator:  Rachel Berman
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Tundra Books, 2012   ISBN: 978-1770492516
Every spring plants leaf out and bloom and the little woodland animals “go cuckoo for romance.”
One spring day Miss Mousie sees a fellow in the deli “who turned her knees to jelly.” He is Matt LaBatt, a very handsome water rat. Not knowing how to catch the water rat’s eye, Miss Mousie decides to try an old-fashioned move and she drops a hankie on the floor. Instead of responding by gallantly returning the hankie, the water rat makes a very rude remark that hurts poor Miss Mousie’s feelings very much. He says that she is “fat.” Devastated by this unkind remark, Miss Mousie rushes home, and she stays there because she is “Ashamed to go outside and hear what other folks might say.”
   Then one morning Miss Mousie gets an invitation from a “mystery date” who wants Miss Mousie to have dinner with him that very evening. Miss Mousie, in a tizzy, searches her house for an outfit that will disguise the fact that she rather plump. She is convinced that if her date sees her undisguised he will “flee.”
   Written in verse and accompanied by cunning and detailed illustrations, this picture book shows children that it is always wise to be yourself. With plenty of gentle humor throughout, the story demonstrates beautifully how badly things can go wrong if you try to be someone you are not.

Saturday 31 May 2014

In Memoriam: Rachel Berman

With heavy heart, I have to report the death of my wonderful illustrator, Rachel Berman. She passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, May 28. I honestly believe that Rachel was one of the world's few true geniuses, and was so proud when she was nominated for the Governor General's Award for the two books we did together -- Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog and Miss Mousie's Blind Date. My silly storybook characters that she brought to life and her monumental paintings will last forever, as will my fond memories of her. God bless you, Rachel. My life is better for having known you.

Tim Beiser

Wednesday 14 May 2014

"Little Chicken Duck" is a Best Book

Little Chicken Duck was featured in the Spring 2014 edition of "Best Books for Kids & Teens." Not only was illustrator Bill Slavin recognized for Little Chicken Duck, but for Morgan on Ice (written by Ted Staunton) and Pandemic Survival: It's Why You're Alive (written by Ann Love and Jane Drake). That's three "best books" for him this year. Congratulations, Bill!

Monday 28 April 2014

Do you agree?

Tim Beiser was recently interviewed for an article in the Toronto Star about a study that claimed books with humanlike animals can hinder a child's ability to learn science.

Click on the image below to view, or read it on the Star web site at:

Wednesday 23 April 2014

BOOK REVIEW -- Canadian Children's Book News

Tales of Fins, Feathers and Fur: Four notable Picture Books

by Senta Ross
Canadian Children's Book News
Spring 2014

What makes stories about animals so popular? Is it because they teach us about survival and life's lessons, or is it because they move us and lead us to contemplate love and devotion? Perhaps we see ourselves reflected in them. Here are four notable picture books about creatures, great and small, which are certain to entertain, educate and cause one to ponder.

What could be more embarrassing for a duckling than to be afraid of water? After confiding her distress to a benevolent frog, Little Chicken Duck is introduced to a variety of forest birds who divulge their own fears to her. So, we meet an owl spooked by the dark, a lark inhibited in her singing, a robin ruffled into discomfort by the rain, a cockoo with a dread of heights, quails intimidated by snails, and an eagle who cowers from lightning. With frankness these creatures also share how they have managed to conquer their peculiar phobias. Buoyed by their encouragement, Little Chicken Duck finally takes the plunger, loves it and becomes the recipient of a surprising confession from her mentor, the frog.

Author Tim Beiser has composed a rollicking poetic text that will be a joy to either read aloud or listen to. The back-and-forth conversation between the frog and the duckling is clever and energetic: "Ah, but nothing can be better," said our frog, "than getting wetter / Splashing 'round a forest pool is cool I think!" / Peeped the duckling, "No, it's scary! And I'm very, very wary. / I'm afraid that if I wade in, I will sink."

Using acrylic paint on gessoed paper, illustrator Bill Slavin brings forth a collection of memorable characters, each with its distinctive attributes and dispositions portrayed from a variety of perspectives. Young readers will be caught up in their playful antics and may identify with the creatures' trepedations, thereby realizing that they are not alone hen facing their ordinary human fears. ...

[to read the entire review, please visit]