'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 13 July 2018

Review: Mouse Mansion: Sam and Julia

Upon turning the first page of Mouse Mansion: Sam & Julia, readers are drawn into the miniature world created by Karina Schaapman.

The end pages display a cross-sectional view of the multitude of rooms, corridors, nooks and crannies of Mouse Mansion, a handmade structure, conceived, constructed and furnished by Schaapman from cardboard, papier-mâché, vintage fabrics and recycled materials.

Mouse Mansion is more like a village than a house, with a butcher, a baker, and one could certainly imagine a candle-stick maker. It is populated by many handcrafted mice, made from felt and other materials.
Sam and Julia, the two main characters, each live in different parts of Mouse Mansion. They are best friends who spend every spare minute together, even though they are quite different from each other. Julia is curious and adventure-seeking and lives with her mother in a small apartment. Sam is cautious and shy. His extended family live in many rooms of Mouse Mansion.

The scenes in this book were meticulously photographed by Ton Bouwer. The earthy tones and the tiny replica elements in every room, including soft furnishings, rugs and lamps, create a warm and inviting atmosphere on the pages. Mouse Mansion contains a world of miniature wonders where readers will recognise tiny mouse-size versions of toys, musical instruments, furniture, kitchen utensils and condiments.

This 64-page picture book features a series of short stories, each one featuring Sam and Julia, their families, friends or neighbours, such as ‘The Secret Cubby’, ‘Little Sophie’s Birthday’ and ‘The Shop That Sells Everything’.

Other books by Schaapman are Mouse Mansion: Sam & Julia At The Theatre, Mouse Mansion: Sam & Julia At The Circus and The Mouse Mansion: A Visit To The Fair. The Mouse Mansion books have been translated into over 25 languages.

Title: Mouse Mansion: Sam and Julia
Author/Artist: Karina Schaapman
Photographer: Ton Bouwer
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2012
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781743312995
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book