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*Mouse Scouts* by Sarah Dillard
Also by Sarah Dillard:

Mouse Scouts Make a Difference
Mouse Scouts
by Sarah Dillard
Ages 6-10 128 pages Yearling January 2016 Paperback    

The six female mice who have moved up from the Buttercups troop are getting used to their stricter, scarier leader, Miss Poppy, while completing projects to earn their merit badges for Acorn Scouts. In this first book in the series, the troop builds a vegetable garden in the playground at the elementary school where they hold their weekly meetings.

Excerpts from their Mouse Scout handbook pertain to mice (they use cafeteria forks and spoons for gardening tools), but the directions are similar to what we would do to grow a vegetable garden. Violet, the shy worrier, and Tigerlily, the brave adventurous mouse (she steals cheese from mousetraps), are the two main characters in the story.

Young readers may see themselves in any one of the mice in the troop though as they have a variety of interests. Junebug is the studious mouse who lives in the library. Cricket lives in the grocery store; she loves food. Hyacinth, who lives in the mayor’s house in a dollhouse, embraces her femininity, and Petunia, with the crooked tail, is daring but accident-prone. They each have something to contribute to the group to build a successful community vegetable garden.

Almost every page in this ten chapter early reader has a black-and-white pencil and digital illustration. There are a couple of instances where the mice speak in rhyme and lots of examples of how they earn their badges through bravery, thriftiness, teamwork, and strength--all words in the Mouse Scout Pledge and the Acorn Scout Song. Their enemies, the chipmunks, add some humor to the story. Back material shows all sixteen badges the Mouse Scouts can earn.

A series such as this may boost registration numbers in Sparks and Brownie clubs around the world. The follow-up to this title is Mouse Scouts: Make a Difference.

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