Published in 1981, Need A Mouse? Call Ms Mouse! is by George Mendoza with amazing illustrations by Doris Susan Smith. Ms Mouse is Henrietta, ‘a world famous decorator’ … artist, designer, dreamer, builder, creator… Henrietta is charged with designing the perfect home for her forest friends.
As a first introduction to the importance of responding to a brief, this book is perfect: Henrietta designs a completely different building for each of her clients, and every detail is conceived to suit their character. And I don’t know about you, but I LOVED examining a cross-section of a building when I was little… (I think I still do).
There’s the house for rabbit – the industrious vegetable farmer.
A Japanese-inspired pad for lazy cat:
And the perfect launching place for frog:
I wish I could show you every illustration in this wonderful book. Even now, I pour over the detail in its pages, filing away in my head ideas and details for MY dream house…
It seems there were actually two English editions of the book, the other one from the UK and titled House by Mouse. The text is very different between the two editions – would love to know the story behind this. More scans of the illustrations are viewable here and here (note the different text on frog’s page in these scans?!).