Book Review: The Mice Before Christmas

The Mice Before Christmas
Anne L. Watson, Wendy Edelson, 2021

New Release! A copy of this book was provided by Netgalley for the purpose of review. 

Summary of my review: Awwwwwww!

This cute little book posits that those mice who weren't stirring the night before Christmas must have had an awfully busy day. Playful verse and charming illustrations follow a sprawling mouse clan coming together for a massive party. It's a bit reminiscent of the opening of The Nutcracker and dozens of other stories that feature a party in a grand family house. 

The writing is sweet, but the art is the real star here. Big illustrations full of tiny details, down to the patterned fabric of tiny mouse frock coats. 

In case it isn't already clear, this leans heavily into a prosperous European image of Christmas in which a holiday party features hundreds of participants, multiple courses for dinner, plus live music and dancing. I think the art is adorable, but I wanted to point that out.

Many stories with anthropomorphic animals have odd little quirks, and my small quibble with this one is: why does the band feature a frog, a chipmunk, a rat, a hedgehog, and a bird, but Santa's sleigh is pulled by hamsters? Hamsters are dumb, but they're not THAT dumb in the scale of tiny creatures. There are also human children in the last picture, and I'm not sure if the intended implication is that the mouse family lives in the walls of that house or if the mouse story was made up by the kids... 

Tiny logical head-scratchers aside, this is a very sweet book that I think young kids will enjoy.