4 Illustration Tips I Learned from Cheer Up, Mouse! by Jed Henry

A librarian friend told me people ask her if they can go into the Children’s section. I want to stand up and shout “yes!” What better place to learn neat things, read thrilling tales, or enjoy great illustration?

Some treasures are hiding in the kids section of your library. Tweet it!

Like this picture book.

Copyright Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Cheer up, Mouse! had me at the cuddly animals, honestly who can resist animals smiling? Okay, maybe you, but not me. Besides I wanted to know one thing.

Why was the mouse sad?

By the end of the book that question wasn’t so important. In my opinion the whole message of this book is what we generally do when someone’s unhappy.

“Do what makes me happy and you’ll be happy too!”

I don’t know about you but I’m guilty of that. Yes all the animals mean well, but the story gently leads you to this conclusion:

Helping a friend is not about what I want, but what they NEED. Tweet it!

Big difference. So necessary.

Copyright Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Since I’m still new to the world of illustrating picture books I’ve been picking up several of them when I go into the library. And here are 4 things I gleaned about illustration from this book:

1. Pictures convey everything — Mr. Henry made every picture count, and to tell the truth your could remove the words and still have a great book that makes an awesome point.

2. Use every inch of your character — The animals use every ounce of their body to tell the story. How? By revealing their emotions in the slight change of the eye, the way the ears sit on the head, even the action line through the body.

3. Intelligent backgrounds — I struggle with backgrounds, but this book simplifies the backgrounds in a way that leaves the story perfectly set with just the right amount of white space. Plenty for the eye to see, but not filled to the gills

4. Small Perspective — Each drawing gave me the feel of being the size of the animals in the book, which just made it more fun to read! It drew my attention to how much the perspective plays in a book.

I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for more books by Jed Henry — have any suggestions of ones to try?

For readers — what got you to pick this book up?

For illustrators — what tip would you draw from this book?

If you want a more in depth (*spoiler warning*) review check out this one at Kirkus.


Cheer Up, Mouse! is Written and Illustrated by Jed Henry, and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. The pictures are not mine, and fully belong to the publisher.
The views are my own and unsolicited.
*The Amazon link is an affiliate link.





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