Sam's Story: Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale by Daniel Kirk
Sam was a library mouse who lived in a little hole in the wall behind the children's reference books. Sam loved to read and he loved to write, too. Everyone loved his little books, but Sam was very shy, and no one at the library had ever met him.
Sam, the book-writing mouse first introduced in Daniel Kirk's Library Mouse, (reviewed here just in time for American Library Week on November 7, 2008) is back in his second adventure just in time for Children's Book Week. In this story a boy named Tom finds himself sadly without a partner in the library's Book Week project. Each team of two children are to collaborate, one writing the story and the other creating the illustrations, but the class doesn't come out even, and Tom is left without a friend to work with.
Although Mrs. F., the librarian, offers to partner with him, Tom has another idea which he hopes will work. A big fan of Sam's hand-crafted mini-mouse sagas, Tom's observant detective work leads him to believe that the library's mystery author must be the mouse who left his author's notebook and footprints on the circulation desk, and he soon discovers the entrance to Sam's hole under the reference shelf. Hopefully, Tom secretly slips his carefully written story, "The Shy One," into the opening in the hope that Sam will agree to be his collaborator.
Tom worries that Sam will be too fearful of revealing his identity to take on the job of teaming up with him on the book, but Sam, as always, rises to the creative challenge, and his clever but enigmatic illustrations keep his full identity a mystery.
"So tell us," said Mrs. F., "just who is this Sam who writes so many books? I just have to ask, 'Is it you?'"
"Oh, no," said Tom. "I just wrote the story. Sam is real, but he likes his privacy, so that's all I am going to say. A friend knows how to keep a secret."
Daniel Kirk's new Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale, with its equally engaging illustrations, is a story which emphasizes both the fun of making original stories and illustrations and the power of teamwork in creating literature. Kirk cleverly includes his tribute to many of the authors and illustrators who make children's literature what it is by placing popular books--Frindle, Little Bear, Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon, The Doll People, Goodnight, Moon, Henry and Mudge, and Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type, to name a few--in the background as the story develops, a device which kids will love to point out as they read.
Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale, is an appealing sequel and, like its predecessor, a really fun way to introduce a classroom unit on writing, illustrating, and book production in general. Sam the Library Mouse looks like he has a long career ahead of him--one of teamwork with young writers and artists.