Welp, here we are, smack dab in the middle of summer. So I thought I’d feature a vacation book.
And, since you yourself may be on vacation, or planning a vacation, or dreaming of a vacation . . . I’m going to keep this short.
It’s a follow-up to Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds, which I also love.
Truthfully, I’m a big fan of Marianne Dubuc’s work generally. I wrote about another one of her books in this post.
But back to Mr. Postmouse Takes a Trip. Here’s my takeaway: Contrary to the usual writerly advice, not all picture books have to have a plot. This one, in fact, does not. But it does have a solid circular structure: It’s a journey that begins and ends at home, with lots of fantastical stops along the way.
So, without a plot, how does the story engage us? Let’s discuss:
- We connect with the family: Mr. Postmouse, Mrs. Mouse, and their three charming mouselings—Milo, Lulu and Pip. Here they are setting off on their adventure (note the wagon full of packages—more on that in a bit).
- While the vacation stops range from the familiar (camping, lying on a beach) to the exotic (trekking through deserts, building an igloo on an ice field), even the most outlandish scenes convey relatable experiences—like, say, a tea party (this one just happens to be with a sloth):
- The Richard Scarry-esque illustrations draw us in, depicting all manner of imaginative buildings, vehicles and characters. It’s the sort of book you could read daily for years and still discover something new and intriguing in the illustrations. (Will I test that hypothesis? Probably not. But I think it’s a perfectly reasonable statement.)
- It may not be plot-driven, but the story has plenty of drama. Where is the Mouse family going? How will they get there? Who will they meet next?
- As with its predecessor, kids will love watching Mr. Postmouse’s loaded wagon shrink—package by package—as he makes deliveries along the way (compare the wagon below to the one in the illustrations above). This adds another layer of drama: Who’s going to get which package? What’s in it? And what’s in the very last package (and that suitcase)? Surprises await!
Have you read these books? What do you think? And if you haven’t, well . . . be sure to add them to your summer vacation reading list. Unless, of course, you’re weary from too many desert treks and tea parties with sloths.
Enjoy your summer, and see you next month!