Sara Pennypacker Books
is a fisherman-rat in love with Catherine, the elegant ballet-teacher.
He's afraid to tell her how he feels, so he disguises himself
and leaves her anonymous gifts. But Catherine has a secret,
too: she's also in love with someone she's afraid to speak
to... Winner of the Golden Kite award
- "Pierre, a mouse who sails a fishing boat,
is in love with Catherine, a ballet-teaching rabbit he glimpses
from afar. She admires the dashing figure she sees from
her window in the evening. Yet each is afraid to speak to
the other. Eventually, they reveal themselves and learn
that "feelings are like tides-you can't hold them back."
While the notion of the torments of adult romantic love
may go over the heads of the intended audience, children
will relate to the themes of honesty and being true to oneself.
For that reason, the story would make a good Valentine's
Day read-aloud, although the French ballet terms may require
further explanation. Mathers's watercolors of the fishing
village, in a palette of moody grays, blues, and purples,
add a calming and whimsical touch." Rachael Vilmar, Atlanta
Fulton Public Library, GA for School Library Journal
- "A simple fisherman, Pierre the mouse is in love with Catherine the rabbit, a ballet teacher. But how can he hope to win one so fair? Then Pierre finds something that matches Catherine's beauty--a shell. He decides to dress to the nines, give her the shell, and tell her how he feels. But when the moment comes, he flees, leaving the shell behind. That sets off a string of anonymous nightly gift giving, until Catherine can bear the mystery no longer. She waits up and catches Pierre, who confesses his love. Alas, Catherine loves another, but in a happily-ever-after ending, she realizes that Pierre, so smartly dressed, is, in fact, the fisherman she has admired from afar. Subtleties abound, and the emotions may affect adults more than children. But the purity of the love will touch children, too, and both the words and the art are delightful. Sometimes the phrases are elegant: Catherine's voice floated like "silver ribbon over the harbor." Sometimes they capture the goofiness love engenders: "He felt all bloopy and love-swoggled." The watercolors have a deceptive, childlike simplicity that draws in readers, with color, detail, and a warm expression of feelings." Ilene Cooper for Booklist (starred review.)