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Pickle Me This

October 1, 2015

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc


We are a little bit crazy for Marianne Dubuc in our house, which is interesting because she does something very different with every book she writes, but what all her books have in common are elements of whimsy, unabashed absurdity, rewards for those who are attentive to detail, and an all-engaging strangeness. And in Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds, she has written a book about the mail, and so naturally I am totally obsessed. As are my kids, because, well, look right there on the cover: there is a rabbit pooing. Sitting on the toilet reading, no less. And this glimpse into the rabbits’ hidden world is what’s so entrancing about this book, exploring these animal abodes that Dubuc has dreamed up: the bear’s house has honey on tap from a hive on the roof; the snake’s long skinny house is outfitted with heat lamps; the squirrel’s got a clothesline and sleeps in a hammock; the mole house has a kettle on the stove.

It’s the kind of book a kid can read with her finger, tracing along the Postmouse’s route and in and out of the houses he delivers to. While the illustration style is very different, we love it for the same reasons I loved Jill Barclay’s Brambly Hedge books when I was little, tiny worlds magnified, access into hidden corners, such incredible attention to detail. And yes, it’s funny. There’s the poo (and the flies’ house is actually a giant piece of much poo, much to everybody’s delight). And there are abandoned shoes, mitts and candy wrappers littering the animals’ neighbourhood, and just what’s going on in each of these dwellings? Each house containing a story of its own, so that you can read Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds over and over again and—which I know from experience—the young reader will continue to keep exploring its pages long after the reading is done.

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