A little mouse and his friend, Gustave, go out to play one afternoon in this darkly comic story about the sadness of losing a friend and the joy of making a new one.
The mouse’s mother has always warned the young friends not to stray too far from home. There is a cat, she says, and it is dangerous to go far away.
But danger doesn’t stop this curious pair, and soon they find themselves face-to-face with their big blue-eyed enemy. In a feat of bravery, Gustave allows his friend the chance to escape — but is gobbled up by the cat in the process. Heartbroken, the little mouse must return home — without his friend — and tell his mother what has happened.
A sweet surprise ending turns this melancholy tale of friendship into a strangely funny book.
Rémy Simard has illustrated and written many book for children, including Monsieur Noir et Blanc and Le père Noël a une crevaison, both finalists for the Governor General’s Award for Illustration.Pierre Pratt is the award-winning illustrator of more than seventy books for children. He has won the Golden Apple and Golden Plaque at the Biennial of Illustration in Bratislava, the UNICEF Prize in Bologna and a Totem at the Montreuil Salon du Livre in France. Other awards include the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award and the Governor General’s Literary Award (Illustration) three times. He has also been a finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Pierre divides his time between Montreal and Lisbon.Shelley Tanaka is an award-winning author, translator and editor. She has written more than twenty books for children and young adults, winning the Orbis Pictus Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Science in Society Book Award and the Information Book Award, and she has twice been nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis. Other honors include Texas Blue Bonnet runner-up, School Library Journal Best Books, ALA Notables and IRA Young Adults’ Choice. Her translation of Michel Noel’s Good for Nothing won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and was on the IBBY Honor List (Commended). Shelley teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts, in the MFA Program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.
A darkly comic story. . . . Gustave is a marvellous marriage of text and illustration.
Uncompromisingly honest . . . Strikingly illustrated in a painterly style reminiscent of Whistler's nightscapes.
Some readers, taking a longer view, will find Simard’s parody of a child’s sense of crisis downright funny.
No artificial sweeteners here: the fear is real, but so is Mommy’s ability to make things better . . . at least for now.