News and Reviews

“Charming, sweet and spilling with imagination”

“Looking for a book that is charming, sweet and spilling with imagination?

“Have a peek at Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue. Each page is a fantastical diorama in miniature, bringing the wool felted main characters — a fuzzy mouse and his elephant friend — to life.

“U.S. author Molly Coxe’s attention to detail is incredible, effectively captured by photographer Olivier Toppin. It’s a shoebox-sized world of cleverly arranged miniatures, handcrafted details and antique toys.

“. . . This story of bravery and friendship will delight little ones ages four to eight.” – Brenda Hoerle, The Waterloo Region Record

“I am enthralled by this book”

“Okay, little known fact about me: I love miniatures. Ships in a bottle, dollhouses, to-scale movie sets … you name it, I love it.

I think you probably want that little disclaimer before I introduce you to this week’s book: Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue, written by Molly Coxe and photographed by Olivier Toppin. I am enthralled by this book. I think it’s brilliant, I love its attention to detail, I adore its protagonists … and of course I am enamored of the illustrations.

“Because the illustrations are photographs. Of miniatures. Oh, be still my heart.

“All in all, Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue is a very charming and engaging book. It tells the story of Benjamin Middlemouse and his elephant pal Bumper who embark on a daring adventure to find Benjamin’s mother when she goes missing. After searching high and low, they must work together to rescue her from the evil Sir Pouncealot. And there’s just something about it, something whimsical and clever and fun and beautiful, that I cannot get enough of.

“. . . Also, and I admit that I got this idea from a librarian, but it really lends itself well to make-believe and puppet play. Finger puppet mice, anyone? Last but not least, I appreciate the values that Benjamin and Bumper demonstrate throughout the story. They prize community and show friendship, courage, persistence, and creativity, all of which are values I love seeing cast in a positive light.” – Sarah Schlothan Christensen, blog

“Here to stay!”

“Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue” is wondrously imagined and produced. Truly a work of art and love on every page: warm and cosy dangers infused with childhood’s joys and fears. All brought to life through pages of an exquisitely crafted and photographed drama in actual mediaeval settings in Provence and brought to life through a charming “dramatis personae”. Each actor magically stitched as if by a Beatrix Potter mouse: Benjamin (a young mouse), Bumper (the helpful elephant), Lord Pouncelot (a crafty white cat), and Mrs Middlemouse (Benjamin’s mother and ultimate peace maker). As I watched my 10-year-old(!) granddaughter put aside her knitting (a current passion) to immerse herself in Molly Coxe’s latest book, I knew Benjamin and Bumper were here to stay and rescue many a Christmas! – James Stuart, Le Paradou, Provence, France

“Very much in the tradition of Winnie the Pooh”

“There’s high adventure to be found in Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue by Molly Coxe with some great photos by Oliver Toppin to illustrate the story ($16.95, BraveMouse Books, distributed by Independent Publishers Group). Benjamin is a fuzzy mouse and Bumper is a larger elephant doll. The story is filled with humorous situations as the two set out to save Benjamin’s mother, since Sir Pouncelot, a cat, is known to be around. It will intrigue any youngster following along and enjoying the great artwork. This one’s a keeper.” – “Bookviews” by Alan Caruba

“Unbelievably beautifully illustrated book”

“Are you looking for a book filled with heroism, danger, and cuteness too? Then you are in luck: Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue is the book for you.” – Debra, “Familylicious” blog

“Kieran, who is barely 3, really enjoyed this book”

“Her favorite character is clearly Bumper, the elephant. I love that the characters are more life-like than in the typical illustrated books we read. … The story ends with an interesting solution to keep Sir Pouncelot and all the mice living peacefully together. I like the message of working out a problem so that both sides can be happy—a great lesson for us all!” – Heather and Kieran, “That’s It Mommy” blog

“Coxe ’81 pens adventure for children”

“The author and illustrator of 10 other children’s books, Coxe loved to draw whimsical characters as a child and wrote her thesis for the English department on the synergy between the illustrations and text in Oliver Twist. She made the stuffed animal characters and designed the miniature sets for Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue, the debut book of the tiny publishing company she and her husband, Craig Canine ’81, started last year.” – Katherine F. Greenwood, Princeton Alumni Weekly blog

“Cozy to look at and a delight to read”

“This is one of those books kids will love to get lost in. Charming details are packed into every scene, from rope ladders made from matches and twine to patchwork pinafores.

“Read this one at bedtime and watch your children drift off to sleep with a smile on their faces–eyes closed tight, as they replay the magic of the story in hopes that it continues into their dreams.” – Where The Best Books Are blog

“Creatively composed photographs are the highlight of this distinctive picture book”

“… Coxe, the author of several early readers, made the stuffed animal characters by hand and designed the miniature sets, which were photographed by Toppin, who adeptly manipulates lighting and perspective. The plot, while straightforward, should satisfy kids who thirst for adventure. … The full-bleed photographic tableaux overflow with mouse-size toys, matchstick ladders, and other delicate details that give the book the feel of a very large epic on a very small scale. – Publishers Weekly, 8/23/10

“Great choice for kids at home and in the classroom!”

“I can use this book in my classroom! It works on so many levels: a story of friendship, adventure, ingenious plans, surprising twists, and a most satisfying ending. … Rich opportunities abound to put children’s words to the pictures and enrich their vocabularies. Lots to talk about also as you explore themes of friendship, empowerment and courage.

And the clincher: Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue is a work of art: a miniature world so beautifully crafted and with so many REAL details that the daring rescue, itself, seems at once magical and possible. And that is after all what you want for kids, isn’t it? Expand their ideas of what is possible through courage, kindness and a dash of inspiration from an AWESOME book!” – “teachermom,” Amazon 5-star review

“If you are looking for characters to capture your child’s imagination, you can do no better than Benjamin and Bumper.”

This fuzzy little mouse and his buddy the elephant inhabit a world that is so appealing and visually interesting that the pictures alone will fascinate children of all ages. Even my older children love to examine these pages for the curious and delightful details. There is a Brambly Hedge-like quality to the tiny details of these illustrations. And, I have to say, the lighting is beautiful.

Within this cozy world, Benjamin and Bumper are steadfast and true with the kind of friendship that we all wish for for our children. When Benjamin asks for help, there is no question that Bumper will do it. They work together as a team and are, in a word, sweet.

The story itself is charming–an adventure story with just the right amount of excitement for young readers. The threat isn’t too heavy or dark and the conclusion is satisfying and clever. A perfect bedtime story. In this video and TV-character driven world, it is refreshing to find something so truly imaginative and beautiful. Coxe has created a truly whimsical world for this tale. Who knows what creativity it may inspire in your children?” – L. Mayhew “BookMom,” Amazon 5-star review

A “much-needed corrective” to bland children’s books

I bought Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue yesterday for my three-year-old son. To say he likes it would be a huge understatement. He responded to it so intensely, at one point I think he was actually holding his breath as I read. I feel like children’s books have become so bland and didactic these days and “Benjamin and Bumper” is a much-needed corrective. I was astonished and delighted to find a children’s book with something truly at stake for the characters, a real plot, and actual (gasp) conflict. Most of the children’s books I encounter these days fall into what I call the “Bobo the Bunny Learns About Recycling!” camp of children’s literature–yuck. Thank you for this breath of fresh air.” – Rosemary Harper

“Benjamin and Bumper may be an unlikely duo, but they make for a beautiful children’s book”

“What really makes this book amazing are the photographs of incredibly detailed dioramas along with the adorable felted wool characters that will make their way into children’s hearts.” – Lori Calabrese,

“My three young children and I were hooked from the start”

“They requested the tale be read again instead of choosing another book. My favorite parts are the amazing photographs by Olivier Toppin and the charming felted wool characters that appear to come to life. For a few minutes, it was as though we were transported into the world of the heroic mouse and his elephant friend as they rescue his mother from the villainous cat. After the story was finished, we enjoyed looking through the book at all the miniature details that make it so endearing. This book is sure to become a classic in our house and a book that I won’t mind reading over and over again.

Update – One Week Later: Benjamin & Bumper remains a hit with my children and it has been requested every single day at story time.” – Simply Stacie Product & Book Reviews

“This should become a favorite for younger children”

“The woolen characters are amazingly alive and the backgrounds are filled with things that will keep children looking time after time and always finding something new. Olivier Toppin’s photographs, taken in a picturesque French medieval hilltop village, are the perfect backdrop for this elegant melodrama.

“This should become a favorite for younger children as they cheer Benjamin and Bumper on, and a wonderful introduction to the Borrowers for older children.” – Noreen Bernstein, Youth Services Director, Williamsburg (Virginia) Regional Library

“Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue is a visual masterpiece”

“… My girls loved the story. As a parent I enjoyed seeing the ideas that were raised in regards to inspiring amounts of kindness and courage. With the fact that I have a 2.5 and 5 year old, both were so intrigued and engrossed in the imagery and plot of the story. They asked me to read this book on several days in a row (which is not typical). They also loved seeing what happened at the end of the story with Sir Pouncealot (you will have to read the story to find out)!” – Dad of Divas blog

“A must for school libraries and teachers of early readers!”

Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue is an excellent resource for teachers who are looking for a book that is appropriate for early readers and listeners, from preschoolers to students through grades two or three. The author has given us a beautiful book with characters and a setting that are visually stunning, and with a problem that young children can easily identify with–making it a book with a real dilemma and an appropriate resolution. This unique book is well written, with vocabulary that is both accessible and with some words that will challenge the early reader. It is especially well suited to follow-up discussions about how to solve problems that even preschoolers can articulate. Teachers with imagination will easily see the opportunity to have their students make a little mouse of their own, and continue Benjamin’s adventures with writing and acting out their stories.” – Betty Peskin, reading teacher, San Francisco

Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue - cover thumbnail
“A great reading experience”

“… Few books integrate photographs and handmade characters as cleverly and creatively as Molly Coxe has done. Each page of the story is beautifully pictured with meaningful details, each ingeniously created with great imagination. … As a former teacher of children’s literature, I think Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue ranks among the best books for young children. My grandchildren think so, also. – Beverley Leyman, retired teacher

“Homespun, hand-made charm”

“… The interior scenes, like the one in Benjamin’s bedroom, are filled with a combination of repurposed, miniature, and handmade items that child readers with an eye for detail will love to discover. I especially liked the outdoor shots, too: the whole thing, from kitchen to garden, feels very French. (A good thing!). … It’s clear that great care and love have been lavished on this book, the first in the Adventures of Benjamin and Bumper series to come out of “mouse-sized” publishing company BraveMouse Books (a story in themselves). …” – Anamaria Anderson, Books Together

“A great gift book (but be sure to buy one for yourself, too!)”

“This delightful picture book riveted groups of 4- and 5-year-olds during story time at the summer day camp where I work. The children immediately identified with the brave and resourceful young hero (Benjamin Middlemouse) in his quest to rescue his mother from the grips of a villainous feline (Sir Pouncelot). They appreciated that Bumper (Benjamin’s elephant-helper) is everything a best friend should be: loyal, smart, strong, and ready for adventure. They showed appropriate concern for Mrs. Middlemouse’s welfare and obvious relief when Benjamin and Bumper freed her from the hungry cat’s clutches. And they smiled and giggled at the story’s clever resolution.

For grown-ups, “Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue” is a richly rewarding visual feast that reveals new pleasures with repeated readings (certain to be demanded by the little ones). The miniature characters and tableaux are charmingly imagined, meticulously rendered, and exquisitely photographed. Dollhouse lovers of all ages will be enthralled!

I can’t wait to read future publications in this highly original new series! (Disclosure: I received this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)” – “Cambridge Jan,” Amazon 5-star customer review

“Great choice for kids at home and in the classroom!”

“Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue is a work of art: a miniature world so beautifully crafted and with so many REAL details that the daring rescue, itself, seems at once magical and possible. And that is, after all, what you want for kids, isn’t it? Expand their ideas of what is possible through courage, kindness and a dash of inspiration from an AWESOME book!” – “teachermom,” Amazon 5-star customer review

Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue now in stores

“I love having your book in the store and the smiles it brings to faces young and old!” – Jenny Pederson, owner, Darvill’s Bookstore, Eastsound, WA

cover of Benjamin and Bumper to the Rescue
“Stunning picture book; great characters”

“… Author Coxe’s uncommonly endearing felted wool characters are wonderfully alive on the pages of this moving and suspenseful tale. Carefully gathered props–buttons, antique toys, cracked dishes, and more–add whimsical detail and texture, giving fresh things to talk about with each reading. It’s a satisfying story that reinforces such values as bravery, friendship, loyalty, and compassionate problem-solving. This is one of those rare picture books that promises to have an enduring presence in a child’s life.” – Antoinette Botsford, 5-star Amazon review

Reviews of previous books by Molly Coxe:
Six Sticks

(Random House 1999)
“Coxe is a master!”
- “Molly Coxe has written the perfect beginning reader for counting! The art work is magnificent.” – Frank Murphy, 5-star customer review

Hot Dog

(Random House 1998)
“Hot Dog” rates #1 in my classroom”
- Deborah Stietenroth, 5-star customer review

Big Egg

(Random House 1997)
“Great Beginning Reader!” - “This was the first book that my daughter read on her own, and what joy she had
on her face when she read the last page! … I wish there were more books like this one!”
– Catherine Samir, 5-star customer review

“Young children can memorize it” - “Just before my son’s 4th birthday I read Big Egg to him and he memorized it and read it back to me. It will always be a special book in our family.”
– “Mom of 6,” 5-star customer review

“Great for learning to read!”
- “I was having trouble getting my daughter to read out loud until we discovered Molly Coxe. This book is easy to read, has a great story, and is very funny. Perfect for kids who are just beginning to read on their own.”
– Kim S., 5-star customer review

“Favorite book!”
– “Great book to start your child reading with. Big Egg is my 4 year old daughter’s favorite book. The pictures and story are funny and interesting. I like it as well! This book gets my daughter’s HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!”
– Brian Cottrill, 5-star customer review

R is for Radish

(Random House 1997)
“It’s not easy to get pop culture into an easy-to-read, but Coxe managed to do so in this clever book starring Radish Rabbit. . . . Bold pictures are the right complement for this sassy story.” – Booklist

Cat Traps

(Random House 1996)
“My daughter’s first read”
– “This book is a self-esteem builder. My daughter read it on her own and then read it to my husband. She was very proud and so were we.” – “A customer,” 5-star customer review

The Great Snake Escape

(HarperCollins 1995)

  • Selected by the International Reading Association as a “Children’s Choice” for 1995
  • Chosen as a Scholastic Book Fair title

“Reluctant readers will be drawn in by the title, as well as by the colorful cover. The clear, full-color illustrations are warm and reflect Mirabel and Maxie’s feelings for one another.” – School Library Journal

“This book was funny, sad, and happy all at the same time!”

– “Hi! I am 6 years old and I love to read these [early reader] books. This one was one of my favorites. Maxie and Mirabel are so funny. … This is a great book and I think parents should buy this book if their kids like to read!” – 5-star customer review

Whose Footprints?

(T.Y. Crowell 1990)
“Engaging illustrations reveal a warm mother-daughter relationship, with cheery watercolors celebrating the bliss of a winter’s day. A fine seasonal book, as well as a useful introduction to farm animals or tracking, this is an appealing choice for all libraries.” – School Library Journal


BraveMouse Books
P.O. Box 1839
Eastsound, WA 98245