Friday, September 22, 2017

Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner, illustrated by Heather Ross

Fergus the mouse is the best class pet ever - and he loves it! He follows all the rules and does exactly what all the other kids do - so he's very upset when he finds out he won't be going on the school field trip!

Fergus decides this just isn't fair, so he dons his cap, his backpack, and slips aboard! The museum is amazing, but he runs into problems right away - like not having a field trip buddy. Fortunately, he meets museum mouse Zeke and the two have a marvelous time, exploring the museum exhibits of dinosaurs, a whale, a butterfly house, and more. When it's time to go home, Fergus and Zeke are fast friends and it looks like Miss Maxwell's classroom will have two class pets from now on!

Heather Ross' art is cute and colorful. Her mice are an adorable pair, with big ears and some different touches to tell them apart - Fergus has a hat and is more purple, Zeke has a scarf and is gray. The classroom and surroundings appear to be upper class urban - the class is diverse but very small, no more than 9 kids are ever pictured. Everyone is clean and happy and the classroom is bright and cheerful. There's nothing wrong with this, I just get frustrated sometimes at the absurdly small classroom sizes in children's books.

The book is an illustrated beginning chapter book with art on every page, ranging from spot art to full pages. The book has an easy reader layout, although the length and vocabulary put it firmly in beginning chapter territory. A fun side note - the artist, Heather Ross, designs fabric. I was just going to look but of course I had to buy some...

Verdict: If you're looking for cute animal stories to fill out your beginning chapter section this is a fun addition. I think I'll definitely use it in my book clubs if I can get enough copies together. A sweet story.

ISBN: 9780763678463; Published 2017 by Candlewick; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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