British poet Brian Patten and British painter and illustrator Nicola Bayley combine forces in Can I Come Too?, an exquisitely illustrated picture book suitable for the youngest children, in which a tiny but adventurous mouse sets out on a quest to find the biggest creature in the world.
In his gentle and lyrical text, Patten turns to a familiar and beloved pattern for children's books, the cumulative tale, much as P.D. Eastman uses in Are You My Mother or Deborah Guarino uses in Is Your Mama a Llama, to mention just a few. Here, our mouse heroine meets a succession of larger and larger animals, asking each "Are you the biggest creature in the world?" A friendly frog, a rainbow colored kingfisher, a sleepy cat, an otter, a badger, a dog, a goat, and a tiger all admit they're not the biggest creature in the world, but ask politely if they can come along on the adventure. When the story is read aloud, children will enjoy chiming in on the oft-repeated refrain, "Can I come too?" Finally, the motley group of animals, led by our intrepid mouse, meets a polar bear, who knows just where to find the biggest creature in the world. They all follow the polar bear to the ocean, where they encounter an enormous and majestic whale. Satisfied, the sleepy animals spend some time watching the whale frolic in the ocean, and then return home, where Mouse curls up and muses, "I might be tiny, but I've had a very big adventure."
This is a calm and soothing story that would be perfect for bedtime reading for young children; snuggled in a chair or bed an adult and child could not only enjoy the text but also have time to observe the intricacies of Nicola Bayley's meticulously detailed illustrations, rendered in colored pencil. Her style brings to mind celebrated American illustrators such as Michael Hague and Jan Brett. Peachtree Press has kindly shared some of her illustrations, which can be seen below:
For more on Can I Come Too?, check out other blog tour stops:
Monday 10/6 Green Bean Teen Queen
Tuesday 10/7- Geo Librarian and Kid Lit Reviews
Wednesday 10/8- Chat with Vera
Thursday 10/9- Blue Owl
Friday 10/10 Sally's Bookshelf
If you would like to win a copy of Can I Come Too? for your own home or school library, please leave a comment below with your e-mail address! The winner will be selected at random on 10/23/14.