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Little Mouse Makes a Mess

Series: Your First Adventure #5
Translated Into: Sagu langilea (Basque)
Una ajuda ben especial (Catalan)
Una ayuda muy especial (Spanish)
Author: Leonard, Marcia
Illustrator: Schmidt, Karen
Release Date: February, 1985
ISBN: 0553153013 / 9780553153019
Length:18 pages
KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts: Here's another favorite in the wonderful yet painfully under-acknowledged Your First Adventure series from author Marcia Leonard and the creative minds at Choose Your Own Adventure. Some of the brand's most consistently high-quality work is found in the Your First Adventure series, and Little Mouse Makes a Mess is yet another winner, pairing a sweet story that has an important lesson or two with the colorful, charming illustrations of Karen Schmidt, who provided artwork for most of the books in the series. As always, the scene-changer flaps add much to the narrative, practically doubling the length of Little Mouse's first adventure as a new surprise occurs with the turn of each flap.

It's Saturday afternoon, and your grandparents have been invited to come by for a visit that day. Your parents are scurrying around the house, straightening up and making preparations. You are a young little mouse, and your parents would rather you play quietly in the living room than help with the cleanup, but you're excitedly looking forward to your grandparents coming over, and you know you can do more to help than just stay out of the way. What fun is it to sit and wait for the good times to start, even if you do have a coloring book to keep you occupied? You may be small, but you're sure you are capable of surprising your parents by helping out after all.

If you try clearing the kitchen of the breakfast dishes and putting everything away, you'll see that your enthusiasm to be a helper may have suggested goals still a little ways beyond your grasp. The dishes, the jelly, the big bag of flour, the clay pot on the windowsill by the sink...it's all a little too much to keep track of for a young mouse eager to receive important visitors. But never fear; your well-meaning efforts to pitch in aren't overlooked, and even if you are still learning how to make a positive difference, you're moving in the right direction simply by your attitude of wanting to lend a hand in the first place. Your parents can fix whatever you may have inadvertently sent asunder, so you'll all be ready for the big visit later that day.

If you choose instead to pick a bouquet of flowers from the garden, you may still not quite be ready for the job, but your parents will be there to help clean you up when you get in a mess. Indoors or out, your story goes to show you can get in the exact same kinds of messes either way, but it's no big deal. Messy clothes, spilled white powder, wilted flowers and a few broken dishes can easily be remedied as long as you keep happily looking forward to the celebration still to come. And who better to enjoy it with than the family you love, who unconditionally loves you in return and appreciates the effort you make as you try to be a good help to them?

This story is such a nice, much-needed one, for the littlest readers or older kids, and I absolutely love Karen Schmidt's drawings. The happy domestic scene on pages two and three, the beautiful, homey kitchen on pages six and seven (even if it does get a little messy!), the lovely garden and picturesque suburban outdoors with houses dotting the horizon and your father busy painting the picket fence, on pages ten and eleven. This is some of Karen Schmidt's best artwork in the series. I'm sure Little Mouse Makes a Mess is going to become a special favorite of mine; I wish the book were more well-known and widely used, as the story is ideal for beginning readers or kids of any age.

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