Commander in Cheese, a new series for beginning readers, pairs a mouse family in the White House with the family of a brand-new president.
Commander in Cheese #1: the Big Move by Lindsey Leavitt, illustrated by A. G. Ford. Random House, 2016, 97 pages.
Reading Level: Chapter Books, Ages 4-8
Recommended for: ages 6-10
The Squeakertons have lived at the White House for generations, so they’ve seen presidents come and go. They even have a Treasure room fill with artifacts like Jacqueline Kennedy’s gravy boat and LBJ’s toenail clippers. But on this inauguration day, Ava and Dean Squeakerton are especially excited that two kids are moving in—a boy and girl who call the new president Mom. Kids mean toys and toys mean Dean might be able to add an item to the Treasure Room he’s been dreaming about: a Lego. Ava isn’t even sure that Legos exist–and besides, looking for one means they’ll have to break the rules:
Mice don’t have laws like humans do. This is because mice pretty much follow the rules. Rules are there to help you. Laws are there because somebody breaks them and then goes to jail.
That might be a good springboard for discussing the difference between rules and laws, but the story moves right along, as the two little Squeakertons meet two understanding human kids who will doubtless appear in further adventures. Unfortunately, so will their pet, a long-tailed furry creature whose species is not a subject for polite conversation among mice. Clever and gently humorous, this new series introduces facts about the presidents, courtesy of this knowledgeable rodent family. Episode #2, Oval Office Escape, is available now; Episodes #3 and 4 later this year.
Overall Rating: 3.75 (out of 5)
- Worldview/Moral value: 3.25
- Artistic value: 3.5
Categories: Chapter Books, American History, Animal Stories