Mabel and Me by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton

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Mabel and Me by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: A self-confident mouse rises above a couple of critical grown-up meanies. Cool lead character and a lot of fun for inquisitive 4 year olds up.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007468362

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Good children’s books open new windows on the world. This title did just that.

The viewpoint character is a sharp-tongued mouse with Attitude. His best friend is Mabel, a kindly little girl of few words. The two friends are discussing why they are bestest, bestest friends as they stroll in an unguessable Euro-city. Their discussion is interrupted by Monsieur Famous French photographer, then Senora Prima Ballerina. The mouse misinterprets their criticisms and blows his top in defence of his friend, Mabel. But he’s got it wrong, they are talking about him. Fortunately the mouse’s own high self-esteem and Mabel’s sympathetic realism defuse the crisis. It was nicely unpredictable.

The narrative doesn’t talk down: … Mabel asks a hugely harrowing and diabolically difficult question …, so there’s plenty of vocabulary for interested pre-readers to discover. If Lola is already a favourite, then you will recognise a similarly chatty voice and intellect in Me, the mouse, as he thinks about it: I cannot think of a single reason why Mabel shoud be my bestest, bestest friend, but luckily, just then, we are interrupted and somebody says …

I loved the attractive, sophisticated pictures which complemented the tongue-in-cheek humour of the text and clever crafting of the story. The jokes will appeal to adults immediately. There is an attractive French veneer to the illustrations, but it wasn’t Paris (do you know of a mermaid riding a sea horse in a Gallic fountain?). I thought this pan-European flavour would sit well on the shelves in several languages. Again there’s lots of discussion to be shared with the child as they explore the detail in the pictures, including some Franglais to introduce the notion of other countries, other languages. This is why I’d suggest children in the early school years would be interested in this book, particularly if they aren’t yet readers in their own right.

I guess the moral of the story is around having a strong buffer of self-confidence when adults criticise you. That’s a useful life lesson, though it’s not the sort of message I’d have thought of producing myself. But as I said at the outset, a book is all about widening horizons. This book offers an unusual perspective on sticking up for yourself which I’m sure you’ll enjoy as much as we did.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this charming book.

The illustrations reminded me of Mr Chicken Goes To Paris by Leigh Hobbs: if you haven’t found this book in your travels, you and your little person are in for a treat! Highly recommended for developing a sense of self are any of the Charlie and Lola books, for example, I'm Just Not Keen On Spiders (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child - though you probably know them already. Less well-known but worth checking out is The Girl With The Bird's Nest Hair by Sarah Dyer.

Buy Mabel and Me by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mabel and Me by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton at

Buy Mabel and Me by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mabel and Me by Mark Sperring and Sarah Warburton at


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