Great Illustrated Books

Mice And Beans

By Pam Munoz Ryan

Scholastic Press, 2001
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 4-7
ISBN: 0439183030

In one week, Rosa Maria's youngest grandchild, Little Catalina, will be seven. The whole family will squeeze into Rosa Maria's tiny casita for the party. Each day of that week, she plans the menu: enchiladas, rice and beans-Rosa Maria knows no dinner is complete without rice and beans-birthday cake, lemonade, and a piñata filled with candy. She has a long To Do list, but first on the list, she sets the mousetrap with a SNAP! Rosa María agrees with what her own mother always said: "When there's room in the heart, there's room in the house, EXCEPT for a mouse."

But wait! Down on the floor, unnoticed by her, the mice are preparing a celebration, too. Two mice in hard hats are dismantling the mousetrap that's ready to SNAP, while two other mice are looking over a To Do list of their own. Why, one of the mice even has red specs and a pink apron, just like Rosa María. Indeed, there's a charming story within a story going on in the pictures.

Each day, Rosa Maria is missing something: a napkin, a wooden spoon, her shopping bag or bolsa, or a candle. Each time, she brushes it off, saying, "No importa" (it doesn't matter). On the day of the party, she thinks she's remembered everything, but it's the mice that realize she's forgotten something important: the piñata has not been filled. They stack up all the items they've accumulated from her kitchen so they can scramble up and load the piñata, one candy at a time. And in a fitting ending, Rosa Maria finally realizes that she has had some help. As she now claims her mother always said, "When there's room in the heart, there's room in the house... even for a mouse."

Reviewed by :


If you love this book, then try:

Baehr, Patricia. Mouse in the House. Holiday, 1994.

Carle, Eric. Today Is Monday. Philomel, 1993.

Dorros, Arthur. Abuela. Dutton, 1991.

Elya, Susan Middleton. Eight Animals on the Town. Putnam, 2000.

Elya, Susan Middleton. Say Hola to Spanish. Lee & Low, 1996.

Guy, Ginger Foglesong. Fiesta! Greenwillow, 1996.

Kleven, Elisa. Hooray, a Pi�ata!! Dutton, 1996.

P�rez, Amada Irma. My Very Own Room. Children's Book Press, 2000.

Reed, Lynn. Pedro, His Perro, and the Alphabet Sombrero. Hyperion, 1995.

Soto, Gary. Chato and the Party Animals. Putnam, 2000.

Soto, Gary. Chato's Kitchen. Putnam, 1995.

Soto, Gary. Snapshots from the Wedding. Putnam, 1997.

Waber, Bernard. Do You See a Mouse? Houghton, 1995.

Critics have said

Cepeda's pictures are as good as the story, with bright, funny scenes depicted from human (looking down) and mouse (looking up) points of view. A delightful birthday or anytime book.