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, Mimi and the Gold Baton will have children ages 3-6 cheering as she takes on risks and defies the naysayers. Through her quest to become a mousetro, Mimi finds an unlikely orchestra, symbolizing musicians of all stripes coming together.
Mimi and the Gold Baton reminds us all that there’s room on the stage for everyone!
After all, even a mouse needs to be heard.
Nicolò Carozzi is a Veronese architect, teacher, and illustrator.
He was awarded first prize for the EuroHope illustration competition in 2013, and has been a shortlisted illustrator for the three Folio Society competitions.
See more of his work at nicolocarozzi.com
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 dreams.
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 Carrozi’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.
The Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and are dedicated to supporting childhood literacy and life-long reading.
Mimi and The Gold Baton, by Cheryl Olsten, is a charming story. The protagonist, Mimi the Mouse, is loveable, and the story is entertaining. You will be delighted when Mimi gets her wish at the end. The story is more than entertainment for children, though. It teaches many valuable lessons, including the wisdom of listening to encouragement from your parents, the determination to get your heart’s desire, and the satisfaction of meeting your goals. The illustrations by Nicolò Carozzi are detailed and beautiful. They fit the book perfectly and add much to both its enjoyment and the lessons it teaches. Children in Olsten’s 3-6-year-old target range will love the book and want to read it or have it read to them. I highly recommend it to young children, their parents, and their grandparents.
– Reader’s Favorite
In this inspiring tale, Mimi is an aspiring “mousetro” who is abandoned by her brothers. They insist that girls cannot be mousetros. Mimi packs her breadstick baton and sets off; she meets a magical maestro who gifts her with a golden baton. Recalling a story about a musical garden, Mimi seeks it out, but the garden is dying and no longer musical.
With her golden baton in hand, Mimi conducts music back into the garden—and proves that girls can be mousetros too.
– Foreword Review, Danielle Ballantyne (September / October 2023)
Creative Child Magazine selects Mimi & the Gold Baton with the 2023 Book of the Year award.
Kids Story Books Category.
There are a lot of children’s books about reaching for your dreams, but Mimi and the Gold Baton is one that stands out for several reasons. The story is unique – a little mouse making her way through a small town in Italy, with a dream of becoming a “mousetro” is adorable and creative. The author, Cheryl Olsten, does an excellent job of showing that it isn’t always easy following one’s dreams, as Mimi has to take some risks, and at times, feels very alone and even a bit unsure. Readers will, however, discover that the rewards of “going for it” are well worth it, as Mimi makes great friends and finds happiness and joy when her dream is achieved. Another fabulous element, the artwork by Nicolò Carozzi, is simply stunning. Mimi is adorable, with details such as her little blue jacket adding so much. Mimi, and other creatures’ expressions, perfectly reflect how they feel (Mister Caterpillar was my favorite!). No children’s tale would be complete without a little bit of magic, and there’s a nice little dose here (how does Mimi’s breadstick baton become a gold baton?). Finally, the tale concludes with an orchestra with a wide variety of animal, and bug, musicians, as well as music enthusiasts, clearly showing the beauty in a diverse group of new friends coming together to enjoy the simple pleasures of friendship and beautiful music, led by the first girl mousetro! Bravo, Cheryl Olsten and Nicolò Carozzi – together you brought a little mouse to life and showed children what can happen when you never give up and reach for your dreams.
Quill says: A unique and beautiful story, with gorgeous illustrations and a touching lesson about reaching for your dreams, makes Mimi and the Gold Baton a tale you don’t want to miss. Be sure to add it to your child’s reading list!
Reviewed by: Holly Connors for Feathered Quill Reviews
The 20th Annual “Best Book” award sponsored by American Book Fest
Finalist 2023 in Children’s Picture Book Hard Cover Fiction