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Mimi & the Gold Baton
In a centuries-old music shop brimming with instruments lives a most unusual musical family—a family of mice. Having grown up among the eloquent sounds of violins and a stately grand piano, Mimi wants nothing more than to lead an orchestra and become a mousetro. Unfortunately, Mimi’s brash and biased brothers are not very encouraging. “Girls can’t be mousetros,” they sneer. In spite of her brothers discouraging words, she finds the courage within to pursue her dream. Emboldened by a chance encounter with a real maestro and recalling a secret from her mother, Mimi eventually conducts a very different kind of orchestra—one where everyone is invited! A modern picture book fable about inclusivity, ambition, and following your heart.
In the village of Parmigiano, Italy, Mimi dreams of being a “mousetro,” but her brothers Matteo and Marco scoff at her ambitions, calling the idea preposterous since she’s a girl and they’re the ones who are going to be famous conductors. Undeterred by her brothers’ derision and inspired by the legacy of her “mousician” parents, Mimi finds herself on a journey to becoming a mousetro after her brothers leave her behind to follow their own mousetro ambitions. Written with heart and delicious punny humor, Mimi & the Gold Baton encourages all budding musicians, or anyone who’s been told they can’t achieve their goal, to go after those drea

Mimi’s journey is reminiscent of multiple fantasy and fairytale protagonists in a way that evokes nostalgia rather than feeling derivative or overdone. One such moment is her conversation with the caterpillar, when he tells her she can “go this way or that way or sideways” pointing his legs in different directions, a decidedly Wizard of Oz move. An event even earlier in the narrative, when Mimi is bestowed a magical gold baton by the kind maestro, feels appropriately grandiose, marking the true start to our hero’s journey.

With a deft hand, Nicolò Carozzi’s intricate illustrations set the scene and are downright atmospheric. The illustration style itself, with the visible pencil marks and (mostly) muted color palette, conjures the nostalgic visuals that perfectly complement the text, bringing to mind the imaginative worlds and immersive illustrations of Chris Van Allsburg. Mimi’s determined nature and the connections she makes with fellow animals along the way show those who are shy or not quite ready to pursue their dreams just yet that perseverance and teamwork goes a long way. Sprinkled with magic and featuring detailed and immersive colored pencil illustrations, Mimi & the Gold Baton is sure to charm readers young and old.

Takeaway: The enchanting tale of a mouse’s journey to become a “mousetro.”

Comparable Titles: Giles Andreae’s Giraffes Can’t Dance, Kristy Dempsey’s A Dance Like Starlight.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A