Little Mouse’s Big Secret

Little Mouse had his, here’s mine…I haven’t washed my travel coffee mug in three weeks. Also, I hid a pair of shoes at Nordstrom Rack last night just in case I want to go back this weekend and buy them. And I keep a copy of Go, Dog. Go! on my bedside table.

I guess Little Mouse was on to something by keeping his secret a secret. Or having only one. Hmm.

Meet Little Mouse:

Looks big, but don’t be fooled:

He’s actually a little mouse.

It’s my secret, and I’ll never tell.

Little Mouse stumbles upon a delicious treat, and decides to hide it and keep it all to himself. One by one, his buddies ask him to share his secret, but Little Mouse won’t budge.

While Little Mouse is fiercely guarding his treasure, something spectacular is growing behind him.

Page by page, the apple tree blooms and ultimately Little Mouse decides sharing his bounty is the best treat of all.

White Space

Each of Little Mouse’s friends asks him the same thing: “What are you hiding?” And each time, without fail, Little Mouse replies, “It’s my secret, and I’ll never tell.” While the refrain is the exact same on each spread, the illustration changes and grows. Eric Battut, the author and illustrator, used a fair amount of white space to allow the pictures to be the driving force in the story. White space is nothingness. It’s the absence of something by choice and not because it is missing. And just because it is empty, doesn’t mean it is simple. {Feels like I am telling riddles…What gets drier as it gets wetter?*}

White space allows the reader to feel the scale between Little Mouse and his little friends, and the big, beautiful tree that grows in the background but is not a background character. Because it is used purposefully to create balance, this type of white space is also known as active white space. It is intentional, unlike it’s ugly stepsister, passive white space. Poor design planning yields passive white space. I love white space. I like to breathe a little bit while I am hopping around in a composition. Unfortunately, one of the most common requests I get in my work is: “Can’t you just make it bigger?!,” where it refers to anything and everything and everything all at once. I cringe. Every. Single. Time.

That’s why I’m thankful for books like this and artists like Eric Battut. And why I slept with this book in my bed last night. But that’s probably another secret I should keep.

PS: Spoiler alert!

Lift the dust jacket for a fun surprise on the true cover:

And shout out to the repetition on the inside cover:

*a towel! {Roll your eyes or impress your friends with that masterpiece.}

One Comment

  • Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    That looks so fun! And I love that you hid the shoes at Nordstroms! Very cool.

3 Trackbacks