A thrilling story of rescue and adventure featuring fuzzy young Benjamin Middlemouse and his wooly friend Bumper the elephant as the unlikely heroes, each page of this children's picture book features a cinematic photo of charming handmade mice and other creatures that inhabit a richly textured, three-dimensional world. When Benjamin's mother does not return to the antique armoire they call home, Benjamin recruits his friend Bumper, a stuffed animal who lives on the nearby bed, to help with the search. Benjamin loads Bumper's back with a treasure-trove of scrounged objects—a jumble of ropes, needles and thread, a ladder made from string and matchsticks, and a homemade slingshot with a basket of popcorn for ammunition—and they follow clues that lead into the garden, where they must storm the stone tower of Sir Pouncelot the cat and rescue Mrs. Middlemouse before she becomes his tasty dinner. Just right for a first adventure story, this magical storybook is an ideal blend of suspense, bravery, friendship, humor, loyalty, and a happy ending for all.
Creatively composed photographs are the highlight of this distinctive picture book, the publisher's inaugural release. Coxe, the author of several early readers, made the stuffed animal characters by hand and designed the miniature sets, which were photographed by Toppin, who adeptly manipulates lighting and perspective. The plot, while straightforward, should satisfy kids who thirst for adventure. When Benjamin's mother goes missing, the worried mouse ventures out of the wardrobe that is their home to solicit the help of Bumper, a stuffed elephant "who lived on the bed." Pantry mice advise them that Benjamin's mother has gone to the garden, where Sir Pouncelot the cat is hunting for his dinner. Benjamin and Bumper outsmart the feline to rescue the captured mouse, who serves up a feast to keep the cat from future pouncing. The full-bleed photographic tableaux overflow with mouse-size toys, matchstick ladders, and other delicate details that give the book the feel of a very large epic on a very small scale. As in Dare Wright's The Lonely Doll, given the characters' unchanging facial expressions, their emotions are conveyed visually through varied poses. Ages 4 8.