Editorial ReviewsPublishers Weekly
Excuses offered by erring children often start, “I didn’t mean to, but...” Previn (Find Spot!) structures her story around this time-honored formulation as a mouse’s unwise choices lead to an exciting adventure. Aberdeen’s outsize ears hang down as he reaches for the string of a red balloon: “Aberdeen didn’t mean to leave the yard. But a balloon floated by, so he followed it.” Things escalate: “Aberdeen didn’t mean to fly away. But his tail got tangled in the string.” Fortunately, after a muddy landing, an acorn snack, and a scare with a large owl, Aberdeen finds that he’s not far from home. His mother deals gently but pointedly with his transgression. “I didn’t mean to make you worry,” Aberdeen protests. “I know, sweetie,” she replies. “But you did.” It’s an oddly scolding closing note, but otherwise the story hums along, and Previn’s watercolor vignettes focus the action while emphasizing Aberdeen’s mouse-size point of view. The message about making excuses is clear, but the story offers another lesson, too: sometimes, the offer of adventure is just too good to pass up. Ages 2–5. Agent: Steven Chudney, Chudney Agency. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Aberdeen is a little mouse who doesn't mean to leave his yard but is drawn to explore the world when a balloon dreamily floats by and captures his attention. This adorable and expressive creature will delight readers as they follow his adventures from one yard to another. Aberdeen floats over dandelions and finally lands in a nearby forest where he searches for his mother and his way back home. Aberdeen's bucolic world is brought to life by Previn's bright and vivacious watercolors. The tale is easy to follow, and the excellent text-to-image ratio allows readers to decode words with ease. VERDICT This wonderfully illustrated story will delight emerging readers and make a fine addition to any picture book collection.—Maria Alegre, The Dalton School, New York City
A mouse follows a red balloon far afield."Aberdeen didn't mean to leave the yard. / BUT a balloon floated by, so he followed it." The yard is an expanse of white space with just a touch of green grass; the tempting balloon floats upward, partly leaving the page. In pursuit, Aberdeen jumps, stands on one front paw, and stretches up. "He didn't mean to dig up his neighbor's flowers. / BUT the balloon flew into their yard, so he burrowed under the fence." Catching up, he drapes himself over the balloon for a smiling snooze. But it tugs upward, snagging Aberdeen by his tail and carrying him away. This luscious, orange-tinted red balloon sticks around for only half the story, but Aberdeen's inadvertent mishaps continue. He passes crickets and falls into mud. He splashes in a puddle. Previn's watercolor artwork deftly balances airy white space with spot illustrations and full spreads highlighting greens and browns. Leaves and tree trunks are damply rich, like nature; lush red, orange, and pink flowers use the underlying watercolor paper for the petals' soft texture. An owl and a darkening sky threaten, but this little mouse is resourceful. So's his mother, who arrives to rescue and comfort—and chide a little. A full day in the vast outdoors—sumptuous, breezy, unintentional, and the tiniest bit thoughtless, at least according to mom. (Picture book. 3-6)
On August 20th, Magic Tree bookstore in Oak Park, IL will be having a launch party for ABERDEEN published by Viking Children's books. Please come at 11:00 with your kids for a reading and book signing and every child will receive a red balloon like the one Aberdeen follows in the book.