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The combination of illustrations and ideas in this wonderful Children’s Picture Book Need A House? Call Ms Mouse is superb. The book can be read and enjoyed by children (and adults who remember Beatrice Potter and May Gibbs).  The story begins with Ms Mouse showing her advertising board, presenting her as a builder decorator and designer.

Then we see her portfolio which is quite extensive. “A treehouse for squirrel, a villa for the cat, a Manor for mole, and Frog’s pad.” Henrietta mouse is so busy she needs helpers and relies on the mice to work for her.

The pages that follow this introduction are absolutely charming. Squirrel asks for a spaceship feeling, for his home in the trees. The design is carefully executed, with large airy spaces and built on three different levels. Doris Susan Smith has drawn the details well and allows the reader to see inside the home with all its quirks and devices.

Trout wants his home to resemble Atlantis, with formal gardens and elaborate decorations. Frog’s pad is a glorious construction, opulent and spacious, while Otter’s hunting lodge caters for his every need.

This delightful story with its personable characters, values individuals. Henrietta, the dreamer and artistic planner, and each of the animals with their specific requests, are able to help each other to build their dream. The minimum amount of text on the double page spreads shows how powerfully the artwork and details complete the story.

I would highly recommend Need A House? Call Ms Mouse and hope it is the beginning of many more collaborations between George Mendoza and Doris Susan Smith.

Author George Mendoza. Illustrations Doris Susan Smith
Publisher Allen and Unwin. Imprint Allen & Unwin Children's Books
ISBN 9781761066016
Distributor Allen & Unwin
Released November 2022