Originally published in Denmark under the title Duften i luften, this wordless book tells the tale of a plucky little mouse who encounters a series of thrilling adventures en route to tracing the source of a delicious smell.
Before the intoxicating scent wafts his way, the mouse is diligently gathering beech nuts from the forest floor. But when the fragrance reaches his nostrils it is so enticing, and so overwhelming, that he immediately abandons the nuts and charges off at speed to follow it.
The story – devised by Peter Lind – gains momentum as the mouse encounters a variety of obstacles to be surmounted and dangers to be dodged. These include a wide river, a huge dragonfly, an underground tunnel and a hungry bird of prey.
With a satisfying mix of ingenuity and timely good luck, the brave mouse manages to deal with each challenge – only to face another one on the next page.
It’s a gripping chase and we watch in admiration as he tackles each new hazard.
For a moment, when it appears a cat’s claws are about to grasp the mouse’s tail, all seems lost. But luckily a rescuer appears on the horizon to save him.
At last, weary and exhausted, the tiny creature reaches the place from which the delicious smell is emanating. But what will be waiting for him inside?
Although this story is focused on the mouse’s fast-paced dash through the forest, there are many interesting things to talk about with a child reader. Bente Bech’s rich illustrations show a range of realistic plants, animals, birds and insects, from a weeny ladybird to a giant bird, from a flowering honeysuckle to a caterpillar-laden Brussels sprout stalk. And the endpapers are delightful too.