Reviewed by Magdalena Ball
Little Lucie decides to keep a diary so that she’ll remember all the interesting things that happen. And interesting things do happen. She makes up a new song, shares apple pancakes with her best friend Pip, makes a book, goes for a nature walk, makes Pip a very useful felt hat, makes three cakes, has a garden party, reads three books, makes a spider’s web to play in, makes, and floats boats, goes to the beach, walks on stilts, and counts the stars. Lucie and Pip are mice, redolent of Pfanner’s lovely version of The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse, and this charming story will stimulate children in a number of ways. It is a story of friendship first and foremost, and Lucie and Pip’s support and care for one another is touching. It is also a story of resourcefulness, and the many activities using readily available materials will have children making their own felt hats (the book ends with a guide to making a felt hat for a mouse), building boats, making up songs, climbing web ropes, writing stories with their friends, and starting their own diaries.
Pfanner seems to have a wonderful sense of whimsy, and her stories and illustrations are full of lovely little details which children will enjoy pointing out in longer reading sessions. For shorter sessions, the text is fairly simple, and easy to read, and younger children can easily describe what the mice are doing. The colours are bright with delightful mid shades like watermelon pink, periwinkle blue, pale mint green, and soft golds. The mice are adorable, and the the whole story has a very pretty feel which will particularly appeal to young girls, though my 2 sons also loved it and tried to make their own mouse hats. The diary entries are written in script, which gives older readers the sense of really reading someone’s diary, and the illustrations and description is fleshed out by dialogue between the two mice. Existing fans of Pfanner’s extensive body of work will recognise her unique style which always seems to incorporate a bit of craft, unique and beautiful items, and lots of warmth and caring. For those who haven’t read books like The City Mouse and The Country Mouse, Louise Builds a Boat, or The ABC Book of Gifts for Kids to Make, this is an excellent introduction, which will appeal to a very wide range of ages, from the very young, who will love the pictures, the gentle story and the cute characters, to older children who will enjoy the slightly longer story, the crafts/activities, and the subtle themes. The attractive presentation also make this a lovely gift, ideally for a 3-6 year old girl.
Little Lucie’s Diary by Louise Pfanner
October 2004, hardcover, iSBN 1877003689, RRP $aud19.95
This review first appeared at Preschool Entertainment. It reappears here with permission.