Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Little Mouse's Big Secret by Éric Battut

Meet Little Mouse.  He has a big secret and he doesn't want to share it - not with me, not with you and especially not with his menagerie of forest friends. He hides his 'secret' in the ground and slowly over several pages and several conversations the secret takes on a life of its own and everyone finds out what he was hiding!

E and I've had fun reading this book and as you might guess it's known as the 'mouse book' in our house. Little Mouse's big secret is actually a shiny red apple. He immediately decides that it's so unique that he must hide it and keep it for himself.  The key point here is that he hides it by burying it in the ground.

Each of his friends knows that he's up to something and they take it in turns to approach him about his secret.  A parade of characters follows and Squirrel, Bird, Turtle, Hedgehog, Rabbit and Frog each ask Little Mouse the same question and each receive the same response.

The repetition of their questions works well and gives the young reader time and space to focus on each animal and the accompanying picture on the facing page.  For in each picture Little Mouse's big secret is growing up and out of the ground behind him.  Little Mouse can't see it, but his buried apple soon sprouts and begins to shoot up first as a young sapling, then as a luscious green tree and finally as an apple tree in full bloom, laden with red apples. When the apples fall to the ground and surround Little Mouse he comes to the realization that maybe secrets (like apples) are better off being shared.

This is a lovingly simple book that gives you lots to talk about with your little one.  The idea of a secret, the growing cycle in nature and the importance of friends are all themes brought together by this Little Mouse. This book was published in France under the title Le Secret. My English version was published in 2011 by Sterling Children's Books.


  1. I have read this every time I've gone in to the book shop recently. I really like it! I'm trying so hard not to buy books at the moment...

  2. I hear you - my book budget was blown some time ago. My only question with this one is whether the pictures are two low on the page for it to suit reading aloud to larger groups. I've road tested it with two, two year olds though and it which went down a treat.

  3. Do you mean their physical placement on the page? or have I misunderstood? Also, I wanted to let you know about Wake Up, Sloth! - by the same team as Popville, and equally gorgeous (but sad) - about loss of habitat in the rainforest.

  4. Yes, I mean too low where they appear physically on the page (apologies for all those typos in my comment). Thanks again for the other recommendations.