Charlie & Mouse combines both the classic feel of an easy reader, harkening back to the age of Arnold Lobel, and the modern sensitivity of a contemporary family.
In a green room, Charlie wakes up. There is a lump in his bed and he pokes it. The lump is Mouse! Together they wake up their parents and set out for the day's adventures - a neighborhood party! Dressed and ready for the day, Mouse in a tutu and bobbly headband, Charlie with a cape, party hat, and sparkly wand, the family sets out for the park. Along the way they collect friends and when they arrive at the park it's party time!
Further adventures include the complexities of money and rocks, and a silly bedtime ritual. The text is an intermediate level, difficult for a true emergent or beginning reader, but great for a 1st or 2nd grader who can read and focus on the more subtle humor at the same time.
I love Hughes' illustrations. While there are a lot of earth tones, the silly, happy family shines through with reds and purples, greens and blues in their clothes, quilts, and and the mysterious plants in the yards. Their neighbors encompass an array of diversity, both in skin color as well as a gay couple.
Verdict: This won't have the instant popularity of an Elephant & Piggie title, but its gentle humor will attract readers and make this a favorite choice of families.
ISBN: 9781452131535; Published 2017 by Chronicle; Borrowed from another library in my consortium