Knowing that he must satisfy their curiosity, an old mouse agrees to show three young mice the "monster" at the top of the stairs.
"Ages 3^-6. A wise old mouse tucks his three little mice into bed and asks what they would like to do the next day. They insist that they want to go to the dark at the top of the stairs to see the monster there. Although the old mouse suggests a visit to the cornfield or a swing on the grass seed-heads, the little mice will not be dissuaded. The next morning they begin their trek up the cellar stairs, but one look at the monster and the sound of one soft "MEOW" send them bumping, thumping, and sliding back home. From the cozy scenes of the mice safe in bed to their dramatic climb up the steep stairs to the climactic moment when they see the cat (shown here only in shadow), the dramatically shaded full-color illustrations show a great sense of atmosphere, perspective, and humor. As appealing as the artwork is the simple text, which begs to be read aloud. Just scary enough to please the story hour crowd. --Carolyn Phelan"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"As in his Guess How Much I Love You, McBratney spins an ample, emotionally ripe tale out of a familiar, even slight premise. A wise old mouse lives with his three young mice in the corner of a cellar, and at bedtime he asks them what they'd like to do the next day. One night, all three clamor to see "the dark at the top of the stairs" where the "monster" lives, and the old mouse, who knows that "sooner or later all young mice will try to see the dark at the top of the stairs," agrees to take them. Perfectly capturing the edgy glee and derring-do of a trip to dangerous territory, McBratney builds the suspense with each well-chosen word. When the four finally reach the door at the top of the stairs, a glimpse of the shadow of a seemingly gigantic cat sends them scurrying ("bumpety-bump and slippity-slide and tumble-thump") back down the staircase, "where they landed in a wriggle and a heap before making a dash for warm, safe, wonderful home." In his picture book debut, Bates provides endearing depictions of these (at least temporarily) bold mice; his compositions and mouse's-eye perspectives create enticingly eerie shadows and angles. Rendered on textured surfaces, his crayon-pencil art at times has the feel of needlepoint, sweetly balancing the shivers in this tale. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved