Step into the world of librarian, Miss Mattie and her tiny library friend, Scooter Mouse, who putters around the library on his tiny red scooter, usually at night, when the library is closed and quiet. Scooter Mouse must share the library one Friday night with teddy bears of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages. The children come to the library on Friday afternoon for snacks and a maker activity of crafting teddy bear slumber mats. The children wonder if Scooter Mouse will stay in his hole, decorated with tea boxes, umbrella toothpicks, and other small comforts or will he come out to play with his library guests. That night, the adventure begins for the bears and Scooter Mouse, ending only when Miss Mattie arrives in the morning! When the children arrive for breakfast at the library, not every bear is exactly as they left them on the construction paper mats.
This is the first of the Scooter Mouse series dedicated to real life children’s librarian, Mattie Rials. This colorfully illustrated children’s book is based on a teddy bear poster Mitchell saw hanging in a library. Sheryl K. Perry’s watercolor pictures will grab the attention of young children, school age readers and adults alike. Scooter Mouse, or a part of his body, is painted somewhere within each watercolor and children may enjoy finding him each time the page turns. Mitchell’s variations on font choice, size and color add to the story, such as using an old English type of font to describe “old” teddy bears and a taller font, when describing big bears. Younger children may benefit from seeing the larger font or the different colored font to understand the terms, while school age readers will probably make these connections, which adds to the overall strength of the book and its story. Single pictures of a cookie or a crawling teddy bear will appeal to preschool children, as they will most likely be able to identify these items.
It comes as no surprise that Mitchell has over two decades of experience as a teacher. She tells a real story about public librarians and outreach programs. Scooter Mouse is well known and loved already in one Mississippi library. Now in book form, this story encourages children in numerous areas to learn about public libraries, and to participate in activity programs. Mitchell’s story reminds parents about library activities often offered in similar fashion by public libraries around the world, and in many cases, one is right around the corner.
All proceeds from Scooter Mouse and the Teddy Bears benefit the Miss Mattie Foundation, an organization providing college scholarships to Mississippi high school students in Pike, Amite and Waltham counties. Overall, children and adults will equally appreciate the plot, how libraries are represented, and will most likely read this terrific little gem again and again.
Jamie Stanfield Science, Nursing and Health Librarian University of Southern Mississippi