It’s been a while since I posted about any of my loft treasures, though hopefully the wait will have been worthwhile as the book from my childhood that I’m sharing today is just soooooo lovely!
‘A Mouse’s Diary’, by Michelle Cartlidge (published by Picture Lions)
This was one of my very favourite books EVER. The detail in the pictures is just lovely and the content of them is delightful (I was, and still am, a sucker for teeny tiny things. Not too practical with toddlers though, harrumph.). I actually had a miniature sweet shop when I was younger, complete with real miniature sweets in jars and a little till. My next trip up into Dad’s loft will definitely be a mission to try and locate it as it was just brilliant fun and provided endless hours of entertainment.
Anyway, I’ve wandered away from the point as usual. I used to look through this book and imagine that, in addition to my little sweet shop, I also had a little cake shop…
I remember having many attempts at making my own 3D interpretations of the gorgeous scenes in this book, though as you won’t be too surprised to hear they didn’t work out particularly well ;-)(my crafting talent has never been up to much, though at least I had youthful enthusiasm on my side then). Just reading the book kept me entertained for hours on end, however, and the little characters and their actions inspired me to make up several stories of my own.
Having fallen in love with this book all over again after discovering it anew, I recently searched online to see if Michelle Cartlidge had any other books available. I was completely and utterly OVER THE MOON to find out that she had published this last year!
Before I go any further, I wanted to mention that I was really excited when I realised that this new book was published by a small, independent publisher and bookseller based in Cornwall. They are developing a catalogue that reflects the strong identity of the Devon and Cornwall area and are keen to support local authors and illustrators as well. I’m especially excited that in May this year they will be publishing a book featuring pictures by one of my favourite illustrators, Rebecca Cobb (‘The Lonely Sea Dragon’, by Helen Dunmore) and next year they will be publishing another mousey marvel by Michelle Cartlidge as well – hurrah!
Back to the book in hand. ‘The Mousehole Mice’ is set in the entirely appropriately named Cornish fishing village of Mousehole and follows the holiday antics of the Mouse family, who have come to Mousehole to stay with friends.
If I’m being entirely honest, I wasn’t as inspired as I’d hoped to be by the text that accompanies the pictures, but in a sense it doesn’t matter because the pictures are so incredibly amazing that they need very few words at all. I would purchase this book many times over simply to gorge on the delicious artwork! Each spread tells a multitude of stories in itself and contains a wealth of little swoon-worthy little touches that are reminiscent of ‘A Mouse’s Diary’.
Just to tempt you, let me show you these two examples. I can well remember the thrill of selecting postcards to send to friends back home…
If you are familiar with Mousehole (as a tourist or a resident) then I can imagine that this book would hold even more appeal that it already does for me. It has certainly encouraged me to visit (quite an achievement for a ‘fictional’ picture book) and I can’t imagine better tour guides than Michelle Cartlidge’s mice 🙂