A Hot Summer Day
by Rod Mortenson

"Ah! This is the life of a mouse! A good day, and good friends to share it with."

Young readers will delight in this chapter book about three young mice exploring the forest near their homes. The mouse friends—Squeeky, Spike, and Curly—have distinct personalities but get along well as they surmount obstacles together on a sunny afternoon. Mortenson writes about their encounters with an owl, a mole, a beaver, a huge (by mouse standards) crop of blueberries, and a surprise animal at the end in an age-appropriate style that's clear about what the mice are feeling rather than making readers infer. Descriptions of other animals and the forest surroundings offer accurate and unique ways of thinking about what's being depicted: "They heard the crackly sound of a small black and white bird…." Mortenson adds fun little notes in the story, too, such as, "In the distance they heard a couple of chipmunks chattering to each other. It sounded like they were very upset. That's how chipmunks always sound."

The book is invitingly written, literally asking readers to come along and join the adventure. There is also great energy in the dialogue, giving the mice a youthfulness that young readers can relate to. Each chapter moves the three mice through a new problem, working like mini-stories that stand on their own but also build well together to a satisfying and heartwarming conclusion that teaches several fun lessons along the way. Although the text would have benefited from some additional editing, the childlike sensibilities of the mice make the book charming indeed. Readers will likely want to find other books in the Heroes and Friends series to learn what Squeeky, Spike, and Curly are up to next.

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