A Maisy Party

The creator of the adored mouse takes a trip

“Who likes Maisy?” a staff member of Brooklyn’s Greenlight Bookstore posed to the audience of preschoolers and parents yesterday. “I like Maisy,” one girl announced several times before sitting back and watching, mouth agape, as author and illustrator Lucy Cousins drew a cast of characters very dear to those in attendance. There was, of course, Maisy, the star mouse of Cousins’ children’s book series of the same name, but also Maisy’s pals Tallulah, Charley, and Eddie.

Once the characters’ outfits were just right—Maisy wore red and white sailor stripes and Tallulah her signature bow—a my-size Maisy emerged and the crowd went wilder than it already was. Even with the strollers parked out of the way, the story time space was congested. Toddlers, many wearing cardboard crowns of mouse ears, babbled amongst themselves. A half-drunk carton of Horizon Organic milk went unclaimed. Someone tried to clear a path for Maisy, but all at once the children swarmed with the same sense of entitlement that Michael Chabon’s fans might demonstrate next week.

If slightly uncivilized in a typically American sort of way, it still must have been a heartwarming scene for Cousins, who’s visiting the States from the English countryside for the first time in twelve years to promote her latest titles, Create with Maisy and Maisy’s Band. After New York Cousins will travel on to Boston, and then to Amherst, where the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art is exhibiting some of her work. Not all of it hails from the pages of a Maisy book; she’s also illustrated the New York Times Best Illustrated book YummyHooray for Fish!, and a number of others. Maisy, however, remains the recurring favorite. The first of the series, Maisy Goes to Bed, was published in 1990. “I can always remember that because it was the same year my eldest daughter was born,” Cousins says