There’s something enchanting and timeless about the art of Barbara McClintock. Where’s Mommy? is a lovely follow-up to Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary, her previous collaboration with writer Beverly Donofrio. In the first book, Mary formed a friendship with a mouse; now, Mary’s daughter Maria has a secret bond with Mouse Mouse, unbeknownst to their moms. This happy coexistence comes alive in McClintock’s illustrations, brimming with exquisite details and creative parallels between the two worlds. The mouse dwelling brings to mind The Borrowers: A colorful sock becomes a rug; clothespins form a bed frame; and a thimble serves as a teacup.
There’s a crisis at hand, however. Maria’s mother seems to have disappeared, just as Mouse Mouse’s mom is nowhere to be found. Donofrio’s spot-on text moves the story along with increasing urgency, and preschoolers will delight in the frenzied search for these two moms and the reassuring twist at the end. Where’s Mommy? manages to straddle the best of two worlds, serving up a bounty of old-fashioned treats infused with just the right touch of modernity. Here’s hoping this won’t be the last of Mouse Mouse and Maria’s lively adventures.