Saturday, August 12, 2023

#BookReview of Mimi and the Gold Baton by Cheryl Olsten

Mimi and the Gold Baton

By: Cheryl Olsten
Illustrated by: Nicolò Carozzi
Publisher: Green Leaf Book Group
Publication Date: October 10, 2023
ISBN: 978-1733955126
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: August 11, 2023
A music-loving mouse dreams of becoming the first girl "mousetro," but with so many obstacles standing in her way, will she ever be able to become the orchestra leader she hopes to be?
Mimi is a cute little mouse who lives in a music shop in Parmigiano, Italy, with her two brothers, Matteo and Marco. During the day, the shop is crowded with people, but at night, the mice come out to play. Mimi likes to pretend she’s a famous mousetro, leading an orchestra with a breadstick she took from the neighboring bakery. Her brothers laugh at her, telling the little mouse that girls can’t lead orchestras.
Mimi remembers the words her mother once told her, “ can be anything you want to be. Follow your heart’s desire, and you’ll see: good things will come your way.” While her brothers tell her that it’s absurd and ridiculous to think a girl could be a famous mousetro, they also tell her that they will be famous mousetros, and off they go, leaving their sister alone in the music shop. Mimi, however, is not easily dissuaded from her dreams.
Like her brothers, Mimi decides to leave the music shop to seek her fortune. The little mouse grabs her breadstick baton, and wanders around until she hears music coming from a cathedral. She cautiously makes her way into the cathedral, where she finds an orchestra playing the most wondrous music. She hides from view and pretends to be leading the musicians, imitating the maestro.
As the music plays, Mimi closes her eyes – she’s never been happier than at that moment. That is until she's discovered, but instead of shooing the little mouse away, the conductor gently lifts her up in his palm. Mimi is momentarily frightened, but then the maestro puts her on his shoulder so they can lead the orchestra together. At the end of the session, Mimi is full of more hope than she’s ever known. But how will she ever find a musical group of her own? She won’t give up her dream and with the help of an adorable caterpillar and some other garden creatures, her dream might just become a reality.
There are a lot of children’s books about reaching for your dreams, but Mimi and the Gold Baton is one that stands out for several reasons. The story is unique – a little mouse making her way through a small town in Italy, with a dream of becoming a “mousetro” is adorable and creative. The author, Cheryl Olsten, does an excellent job of showing that it isn’t always easy following one’s dreams, as Mimi has to take some risks, and at times, feels very alone and even a bit unsure. Readers will, however, discover that the rewards of “going for it” are well worth it, as Mimi makes great friends and finds happiness and joy when her dream is achieved. Another fabulous element, the artwork by Nicolò Carozzi, is simply stunning. Mimi is adorable, with details such as her little blue jacket adding so much. Mimi, and other creatures’ expressions, perfectly reflect how they feel (Mister Caterpillar was my favorite!). No children's tale would be complete without a little bit of magic, and there's a nice little dose here (how does Mimi's breadstick baton become a gold baton?). Finally, the tale concludes with an orchestra with a wide variety of animal, and bug, musicians, as well as music enthusiasts, clearly showing the beauty in a diverse group of new friends coming together to enjoy the simple pleasures of friendship and beautiful music, led by the first girl mousetro! Bravo, Cheryl Olsten and Nicolò Carozzi – together you brought a little mouse to life and showed children what can happen when you never give up and reach for your dreams.
Quill says: A unique and beautiful story, with gorgeous illustrations and a touching lesson about reaching for your dreams, makes Mimi and the Gold Baton a tale you don’t want to miss. Be sure to add it to your child’s reading list!
For more information on Mimi and the Gold Baton, please visit the author’s website at:

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