Lion & Mouse ISBN: 9781780080178
Published by Jonathan Cape, 2013
Lion and Mouse are friends and next door neighbours, but there is a problem with the friendship. Lion is so sure that he is best at everything that the friendship is an unequal one. Lion really is a show-off and a boaster, and when Mouse gets tired of being made to feel inferior, he disappears. Lion is so busy at claiming to be the best at everything that he doesn't notice his friend is gone - until darkness descends, and Lion must admit that he is afraid of the dark. He goes quite mad with fear and shouts for Mouse to rescue him. Mouse is not particularly inclined that way in the beginning, but he relents and goes to help. When Lion can admit that Mouse is brave and resourceful, the two can form a true friendship. It is the outstanding illustrations that make this book really special. In pencil and colour, Ms Echeverri shows huge originality. On solid background colours of blue and yellow, with black used when the dark descends, we see the two animals outlined in pencil, with pencil also used for the lion's mane and the mouse's whiskers and tail. The integrated text curls and twines through the pictures, and the perspective is remarkable. Mouse rescues Lion by drawing a circle from the back of the dark, widening it gradually until he can let a rope through to rescue the terrified beast. The artwork is slightly reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer, who also used pencil lines with delicacy. A lovely book.