Steve Smallman, Batmouse

QED, 2014, ISBN 978-1781715734

Pip sees what he thinks is a flying mouse. His mother tells him it’s a bat. ‘Can I be a bat when I grow up?’ he asks. He’s determined to fly. He makes wings out of cardboard. Now he’s Batmouse, and he’s ready for take-off. But his falls leave him giddy and bruised and his wings make bed uncomfortable, even when he tries to sleep upside down. Then he finds a cave with a bat in it. Albert says he seems to be the wrong way up, so Pip stands on his head. When he’s offered a moth to eat he starts to cry. He doesn’t want to live in a spooky cave or eat ‘moffs’ or hang upside down, but he really really wants to fly. So Albert takes him flying. Pip is dizzy and excited and scared. As he lands by his house he spots a digging mouse, or so he thinks. It’s a mole, explains his mother. ‘When I grow up, can I be a mole?’ asks Pip.

This is an endearing picture book. Young children will readily identify with Pip and enjoy his determination, his adventures and his mishaps. The distinctive illustrations add humour and detail to the story. At the back of the book there are discussion starters for parents and teachers to use with children.