Mouse Paint

What is it

Mouse Paint is a charming board book by Ellen Stoll Walsh that teaches primary and secondary colors. It reminded me a bit of the classic Color Kittens although Mouse Paint has its own style.

Who is it for

It’s a book to read to a toddler who is interested in colors and is learning color words, so children aged 1 to 3 would get the most out of it.

What Kids Like

The drawings are charming and the mice are cute. They are busy, getting into things. I don’t know whether the kids relate to that, but I think so. With books aimed at very young children, it’s often hard to know exactly why they like something. But our 2-year-old asked to read this about five times yesterday, which I consider a positive review.

What Parents Like

The art is appealing, enough that my attention is kept, even when reading it for the fifth time. There is just enough going on that the parent and child can have a conversation about what’s happening. The book encourages communication and engages the child, rather than simply letting them passively listen.

What the Critics Think

Barnes & Noble gives Mouse Paint 4.1/5
GoodReads gives Mouse Paint 4.2/5

Who Made it / History

Ellen Stoll Walsh is an author and illustrator, who has been creating children’s books for the past several decades from her studio in Baltimore.

Her other mouse-themed books for young children include Mouse Count, Mouse Shapes, and her Dot and Jabber series. And she uses frog characters as well in books such as Hop Jump

Mouse Paint was first published in 1989 and remains in print. You should be able to find it easily.

The Deep Blue Sea – A Book of Colors

This unique, somewhat minimalist book is about colors, but also encourages discovery and anticipation.

The pictures begin right at the start of the book, on the inside of the cover, and continue all the way through to the inside of the back cover. Each page introduces a new color and new animal/object, as well as a hint about what will be on the next page. This act of discovery, looking for the clue, was very appealing to our kids.

The art is distinctive, looking like computer-generated 3d images. I honestly didn’t care for the artwork, and still don’t upon reviewing it again, but the kids seemed to like it. But there is a contrast between the very bright foreground images (e.g. a purple parrot) and the much more subtle background detail (e.g. the fish swimming underwater) and the kids enjoyed hunting for these subtle details.

There’s not much to this book, really, but the simplicity is part of the appeal, and the details that it does have place it above other books that simply list colors and shapes.