The Mouse in the Hammock

As the holidays approach, the attic door is opened, dust is brushed away, and the lid on the box of ornaments is lifted. Among all the decorations is a little mouse who comes alive during the Christmas season, busily working each night on tiny tasks to prepare the home for the holiday he loves and the arrival of Santa.

While the grownups are busy taking care of the big things, Mouse handles the equally important small stuff. Every night, when the cuckoo clock strikes midnight, he scurries down from his tree-hung hammock to start his work: refilling the cookie jar (with just a nibble to make sure the treats are fresh), sewing up a hole in one of the stockings, hanging the welcoming mistletoe … working so hard he sometimes falls asleep before he can make it back to the Christmas tree. But Mouse knows he can always count on little hands to safely tuck him back in his hammock so he can rest for the next night’s work: gathering the kids’ wish lists, shining the ornaments, and straightening the star on top of the tree.

When it’s finally Christmas Eve, Mouse is so excited to be Santa’s biggest helper! He makes sure Baby Jesus is tucked into his manger, then pours water on a hot coal in the fireplace so Santa won’t be burned. He plugs in the lights on the tree so the house won’t be too dark, and he blows on Santa’s cocoa so it won’t be too hot.

Then he hears a thud from the chimney and “Merry Christmas, Little Mouse!” Santa congratulates him for getting the house ready and gives him a gift to thank him for his help. “You may think that you’ve only done little things. But you don’t have to be big to do good things. The little things make a big difference.” And then, with one more hearty wish, Santa tucks Little Mouse back into his hammock hanging from the tree, to sleep snugly until next year.

The story is followed by a Little Mouse version of The Night Before Christmas, then a description of Little Mouse’s true mission: to help mothers and children in Haiti. With lively text by Bethany Brevard and lovely illustrations by Marcin Piwowarski, this is a tale that not only teaches children ages 3 – 8 about the power of good works, but actually exhibits its real-life practice. Its many lessons will gently teach children that helping is a gift all its own, the importance of generosity, and how implementing little jobs makes a big difference not just in one family’s Christmas, but the entire world.

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