Luminous illustrations, a rhyming text, and rich vocabulary combine to make Chad Wallace’s The Mouse and the Meadow a treat for youngsters. The story, featuring anthropomorphized creatures, realistically portrays the dangers predators, such as the hungry snake that pops out of hiding, or the swooping owl after a meal, pose to a field mouse. Other encounters with animals such as a spider and a box turtle are less threatening to this small creature.
The wonder and natural beauty of the meadow and the characteristics of its distinct inhabitants are the focus of this tale of exploration and discovery. As they travel with the diminutive rodent through the story, children will learn a facts about the meadow and animals that live there, along with related terminology. In a section that follows the story, viewers will find additional information about this unique habitat, and one page devoted to each creature that appears. There’s also a discussion on whether animals actually “talk” (and animal communication), and another on whether in the natural world creatures “really help each other.”
One or two interactive elements are found per screen (the mouse sniffs, a honey bee’s wings vibrate, etc.). “Read to myself” and “Read to me” (words highlighted as they are read, and a pleasant narration) options are available. Detailed artwork in warm browns and golds offers close-up looks at this quietly dramatic landscape. Both art and charming text have the feel of a bygone era.
— School Library Journal (May 15, 2014)
Follow an inquisitive little field mouse as he leaves the safety of his nest and explores the world outside for the first time. Realistic and with a mouse-eye-view perspective, the interactive illustrations add drama and wonder as he encounters the other animals that inhabit his meadow. They may prove to be helpful or dangerous or simply curious, and they begin to reveal the interconnected ecosystem therein. He meets a very busy bee gathering pollen and learns how that is essential to the overall food supply. He narrowly escapes becoming part of the food chain when he passes too close to a fearsome garter snake, and soon after learning that fireflies use their lights to find mates, he finds himself sitting under the moon with a new mouse friend. Recounted in rhyme and populated with anthropomorphized animals, Wallace’s tale introduces somewhat sophisticated natural science concepts and vocabulary—metamorphosis and chrysalis, for instance—in an appealing storybook format. Interactions aren’t razzle-dazzle but nicely appropriate; tapping the mouse causes him to lean forward and twitch his nose inquisitively, which can’t help but increase readers’ engagement as well. Kid-friendly explanations and additional information about habitat are provided in a separate section at the end of the story.
Complete with a wise old turtle and a motherly bunny, this is charming and accessible science for young naturalists.
— Kirkus Reviews (March 31, 2014)
The Mouse and the Meadow by Chad Wallace is an interactive storybook app following the experiences of a mouse as he explores a meadow. The “Read to Me” option reads aloud each page while displaying basic animation. The animated, interactive elements reinforce the story, so they aren’t distracting. Readers can follow along with the audio narration. Each word is highlighted as it’s read aloud. The “Read to Myself” option is the same as the read aloud option, just without the audio support.
From scary confrontations with a snake and great horned owl to quiet moments with fireflies, the storyline features believable situations and encounters among the creatures. The author skillfully weaves in nature facts making this an excellent science experience as well as an engaging story. The realistic flora and fauna contribute to the impact of the story. The colors and details of each creature are exceptional.
After reading the story, users are immersed in an informational reading experience focusing on facts and trivia about the habitat and creatures encountered in the book. They also learn about how animals communicate and help each other. Readers will also enjoy learning about the author. These special informational aspects are always available through a small icon on each page.
The book would be a wonderful addition to a collection of storybook reading apps for children.
— Teacher Library Magazine (April 21, 2015)