Review Blog

Sep 10 2014

Sonoma meets Miss Mouse by Di Morrissey

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Ill. by Julie Sydenham. Harbour Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781922134400.
This is the first children's book written by popular Australian author Di Morrissey. With experience spanning over two decades in publishing, Morrissey is known for her adult fiction that covers themes including personal relationships, the environment, Aboriginal reconciliation, identity and Australia's relationship with its South East Asian and Pacific neighbours. Dedicated to her granddaughter, Morrissey's first foray into children's literature tells a tale of friendship and compassion. The main character, Sonoma, is a brave young girl who is not fearful of darkness or being alone at night. As she awakens one night, she hears the sound of a soft and sad whimper. Sonoma hears the whimper turn to crying, and she is concerned because she does not like anyone to be sad. When she discovers that the source of the crying is a little mouse, Sonoma is surprised but she is quick to befriend young Miss Mouse. The story continues as Sonoma goes out of her way to help small Miss Mouse find food.
The way that Sonoma shows empathy towards Miss Mouse and is able to consider the world from Miss Mouse's viewpoint would prove to be a good discussion point for young readers. The theme of friendship is strong throughout as Sonoma offers her friendship unconditionally but is greatly rewarded in return by Miss Mouse.
The illustrator, Julie Sydenham, displays her strength in working with colour and texture through the beautiful illustrations that accompany the text. The dark colour palette features rich purples and blues with pops of orange and pastel highlights.
Children will enjoy this book being read aloud to them and will fall in love with kind Sonoma and whimsical Miss Mouse. It is a good prompt for discussions about being caring to others as well as giving and receiving help. I can imagine this becoming a favourite at bed time.
Stephanie Bell

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