Goodbye, Mousie

Author Harris, Robie H.
Language English
London: Pocket, 2003


A boy grieves for his dead pet Mousie, helps to bury him, and begins to come to terms with his loss.

Subjects :

  • Juvenile fiction
  • Death
  • Fiction
  • Pets
  • Pictorial works
  • Mice
  • Death
  • Grief

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Best Children's Books of the Year, 2002 Bank Street College of Education
  • Books About Trauma, Tragedy and Loss, 2002 Children's Book Council
  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2002 H.W. Wilson
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 H.W. Wilson
  • Parent's Guide to Children's Media, 2001 ParentÂ’s Guide to ChildrenÂ’s Media, Inc.
  • Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 2001 Cahners
  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, July 2001 Cahners

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Cuffies: Children's Booksellers Choose Their Favorite (and not-so-favorite) Books of the Year, 2001 Honorable Mention United States

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Reading Measurement Programs:

Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:) 2001.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Lower Grade
Book Level 2
Accelerated Reader Points 0

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Lexile Measure 140
Accelerated Reader Points

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Interest Level K-2
Reading Level 3
Accelerated Reader Points 2

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Reviews :

Ilene Cooper (Booklist, Sep. 1, 2001 (Vol. 98, No. 1))
A little boy wakes up one morning and tickles his pet mouse's tummy, but Mousie doesn't move. So begins this story for the very youngest about the death of a pet. Daddy tells the boy that Mousie is dead, but the child prefers to think that Mousie is just very, very tired. Slowly, after lots of tears and many questions, the boy comes to terms with the fact that his pet is gone. He plans for the funeral by painting a picture of himself to put inside the shoebox that will hold Mousie. He will get another pet, but not right away. Ormerod's honest pictures, black-pencil line drawings with watercolor washes on buff-colored paper, capture the emotions of the situation and chronicle the boy's move from disbelief to acceptance. The endpapers, on which Mousie cavorts, show what a delightful little pet he was. The choice of a first-person narrative has a tendency to distance listeners because the boy often sounds older than he looks. Still, this covers all the bases of a frequently asked-for subject. Category: Books for the Young--Fiction. 2001, Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $16. Ages 2-4.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2001.)

Janet Crane Barley (Children's Literature)
One morning when a child tickles his pet Mousie's chin, Mousie won't wake up. Daddy tells him that Mousie is dead. The child insists Mousie is just sleeping and will wake up soon. Daddy explains that dead is very different from sleeping. The child says he's angry at Mousie and tears follow his anger. Daddy comforts him and they talk about why Mousie died. Then they make plans to bury the little pet. Mommy gives the child a shoebox to bury Mousie in. He decides to tuck in a bit of food, a toy car, a crayon and toy ring so Mousie won't be bored, and a picture of himself so Mousie won't be lonely. He decorates the box by painting on bright wiggly stripes. Mommy digs a hole for the shoebox and lights two sparklers on the grave. The child cries a bit then tells Mousie that he is mad and sad and will miss him--a eulogy of sorts. After the funeral the child thinks about the fact the mouse is dead and maybe someday he will get another mouse. "But not just yet." This book effectively captures the experience of what happens when a loved one dies. The child goes through anger, denial, grief and acceptance and his parents gently help him understand and deal with what happened. This well-told story would be quite helpful when one needs to explain death to a child. 2001, Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster's Children's Publishing Division, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2001.)

CCBC (Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices, 2002)
When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up." A small boy's reaction to his pet mouse's death is handled with great sensitivity by his parents and with great skill by author Robie Harris. "I have something very sad to tell you," the boy's father says with his arm around the child. "Mouse is . . . dead." In this important and comforting story, the child expresses his anger, and then grief, with tears. But he also has other outlets as he prepares a box in which to bury Mousie, putting in some of his pet's favorite things, and then goes through the ritual of a burial. His confusion and fear about death are also touched upon. "Dead," says Daddy, "is very different from sleeping." Harris's text is an exemplary treatment of a difficult subject for children and adults alike. Jan Ormerod created her full-color, full-page art in black pencil lines with watercolor washes. CCBC categories: Understanding Oneself and Others; Picture Books for Younger Children. 2001, Margaret K. McElderry, 24 pages, $16.00. Ages 3-6.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2001.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2001 (Vol. 69, No. 13))
A little boy's pet mouse dies, and he and his family cope, in this gently done true-life tale by a team that has such an elegant grasp of the workings of the minds and hearts of children. A little boy fiercely denies that his pet mouse is dead, despite his father's remonstrations, and then he gets mad at Mousie, and finally sad. The boy and his parents put Mousie in a box with some of his favorite things-carrots, a piece of jam toast, and a toy or two-and make a headstone for him out of driftwood. Readers can hear the boy working things out for himself, that Mousie won't ever come back, that grief and longing are what he feels. And in the last frame, where he plays with Mousie's wheel and a toy mouse while wearing his mouse slippers, he thinks about getting another mouse-"But not just yet." Ormerod makes her images from a close-up, child-high perspective, with a fresh, clean palette: her headshot of the child bawling wildly at the realization of the truth of Mousie's demise is touching and tender, as is the gentle comfort of his father. Not since "The Tenth Good Thing About Barney "(1971) has there been such an affecting and satisfying story about the death of a pet. 2001, McElderry, $16.00. Category: Picture book. Ages 4 to 8. © 2001 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2001.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Harris (It's Perfectly Normal) and Ormerod (Miss Mouse Takes Off) admirably and successfully tackle a child's first encounter with death, through the loss of a beloved pet. "When I woke up this morning, I tickled Mousie's tummy. But Mousie didn't wake up," says the unnamed narrator, a preschool-age boy. Author and artist both possess an acute sense of the boy's emotional trajectory. After his first outpouring of grief and anger (which Ormerod depicts in a stunning facial close-up), the boy focuses on preparations for Mousie's funeral, busily filling the coffin with mementos and then decorating it with "wiggly stripes." But his composure crumbles when he discovers a piece of toast missing from his plate: "Where did it go? Did it die too?" Acceptance finally comes after he and his parents bury Mousie, and it is authentically childlike: "So, maybe someday, I'll get another mouse," the boy says, stretched across the floor and contemplatively dawdling with Mousie's exercise wheel. "But not just yet." The artist's fluid pencil lines underscore the vulnerability of the boy and the poignancy of his story. Uplifting details (the boy's mouse slippers, a stuffed mouse toy) offer a glimmer of hope, and the solidity at the heart of her characterizations—especially in the portraits of the narrator seeking comfort from his parents—will be immensely reassuring to young readers. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) "
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2001.)

Deborah Stevenson (The Bulletin of the Center for Children s Books, October 2001 (Vol. 55, No. 2))
Many will guess right from the title that there s a pet funeral in the offing, and that is indeed the sad outcome when a boy s beloved white mouse doesn t wake up one morning. Mousie s young owner succumbs to grief and anger, but his dad s explanations and his mom s assistance with a burial plan help the boy understand and deal with his pet s passing. It s good to see a recognition that it hurts to lose small pets, too, and the text is bare-bones simple and calmly direct, covering a range of developmentally appropriate bereavement issues (including permanence-- When I wake up tomorrow morning, Mousie won t be here --and the possibility of succession-- So, maybe someday, I ll get another mouse ). The book glides so smoothly through the steps, in fact, that the story is suspiciously tidy (what s going to happen when the narrator misses the toy car he s burying with Mousie more than he misses Mousie?) and less involving than instructive (especially for baffled parents of young mourners); there s little discussion of Mousie s life and ways, so the audience never really gets a sense of the narrator s loss as they do in, for instance, Viorst s The Tenth Good Thing about Barney. Ormerod s illustrations, especially the Mousie gallery on the endpapers (where Mousie is an inquisitive nose-twitching charmer), do their best to fill that gap: the protagonist s toy mouse and mouse-face slippers emphasize his involvement with his small friend, and the pictures treat Mousie s still form tastefully and with respect as he s swaddled lovingly in the narrator s old t-shirt awaiting his interment. Though it s overpowered by its purpose, that purpose will undoubtedly make it useful, especially when the preschool class pet goes the way of all mice. Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area. (c) Copyright 2001, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2001, McElderry, 26p, $16.00. Ages 3-6 yrs.
(PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York:), PUBLISHED: c2001.)

Enid Stephenson (Carousel 19, Winter 2001)
When a small boy is told his pet mouse is not sleeping, but is dead, he won't believe it. With the help of his family he understands that it is OK to feel angry and sad when someone dies. The gifts for mouse, put into the shoe box, underline the fun the pair of them had when the mouse was alive. The whole book is a wonderfully written and illustrated story about life and death. Category: For Sharing. Simon & Schuster, 8.99.
(PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster (London:), PUBLISHED: 2001.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
London: Pocket, 2003

Media Type: Language Material
32 p.:
Originally published London Simon & Schuster 2001.
London: Simon & Schuster, 2001

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. (unpaged):
New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2001

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. (unpaged):
PZ7.H2436 ([E])

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