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Author: Wells, Rosemary
Jennie is as close to her grandfather as a mouse can be, and when he suddenly dies she keeps thinking she sees him turning a corner, sitting on a bench, heading for the pier, or walking along their beloved beach, seeking the elusive Queen's teacup seashell.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.90
Points: .5 Quiz: 153793
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/12)
School Library Journal (03/01/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (12/12)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2012 We all come from somewhere—and from someone—and it’s no different for mice. Jenny is named after her grandmother, Jennie, who died before she was born. But her grandfather has always been around, teaching her how to button her buttons and draw the swooping J of her name and reminding her to hold her head high and her whiskers straight as arrows. Grandfather was originally from Italy, and like many immigrants (human and mice alike), he built a life for himself in this country, eventually opening his own Italian restaurant in the attic of an existing human establishment. After Grandfather dies suddenly, Jenny thinks she sees his trademark silver whiskers at every turn. Wells’ wistful ode to a family’s rich history is ultimately a celebration of memory, self-worth, love, and loss, while Denise’s inviting black-and-white illustrations add cozy details. This chapter book may be too contemplative for some early readers, but it offers a unique spin on the immigration story and dealing with the loss of a loved one. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Wells has written and/or illustrated more than 120 books for children, hoards of which are beloved by children and librarians alike. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2012 Little Jenny the mouse and her grandfather spend much of their time together, trekking around Boston and going to the beach to look for shells (especially the rare and beautiful “queen’s teacup”) while her parents run their busy restaurant. When Grandfather dies, Jenny misses him terribly—so much so that she starts following other mice that she mistakes for him (“It can’t be him, I told myself, but the pull to follow was as irresistible as the current of the sea”). The last of these “Grandfather sightings” leads her to the sea where she finds “four perfect gold queen’s teacups,” which she interprets as a gentle message of love from her departed grandfather. Kids who have lost a beloved family member may certainly relate to this, and the compact page count and frequent illustrations make this accessible as a longer readaloud for younger children as well. Wells’ moving (but not overly sweet) text and Denise’s pictures both have a dreamily vintage feel to them, and the piquant textual details of Jenny’s world and soft-edged digital illustrations of adorable mice in clothing may appeal to readers who love all things miniature. Denise is particularly skilled at playing light and shadow against one another and at creating strong compositions, as in the picture of a small but robust, suspenders-wearing Grandfather playing with tinier Jenny in a shaft of sunlight in their attic home. Those who appreciate a more lyrical approach to the loss of an elder may prefer this to the more comic Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies (BCCB 1/11). JH - Copyright 2012 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2013 K-Gr 3—A heartwarming tale of love and loss, privilege and class, set in bustling Boston. Jenny is a mouse who is looked after by her wise and worldly grandfather while her parents run the family restaurant. Summer days are spent at the beach where she savors the taste of clams lovingly prepared by her grandfather with "a little olive oil and a dab of fresh mozzarella." It is during these visits that she learns that life is not necessarily better for those privileged with expensive possessions. Grandfather imparts this knowledge to his granddaughter by traveling through the diverse neighborhoods of the city, introducing her to the many ways that mice make a living and treating all whom they encounter with respect and dignity. One day, Jenny's world of comfort and adventure is shattered when Grandfather passes away. Unable to absorb the loss, she thinks she sees him all around town. She finds peace when she receives a special message from him in the sand and shells of their beloved beach. Beautifully written text and endearing gray-scale illustrations transport readers and add to the poignancy of the tale. The message that all people are worthy of respect is artfully delivered and the manner in which Jenny mourns her grandfather's death will evoke empathy from young readers who have suffered a similar loss. A must-have for most collections.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.