Once Upon A Twice

Once Upon A Twice
By Denise Doyen, illustrated by Barry Moser
Random House, 2009

Author Denise Doyen studied creative writing and poetry at Stanford University and directed children’s television for Disney, and her background shines in this book.

In nonsense words and rhyming verse, like that of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky”, this story follows a group of mice as they make their way through a full-mooned night. Only one mouse, Jam Boy, does not follow the rules and does his own thing, which causes quite a stir among the Eldermice. One Eldermice calls him out when Jam Boy stops to smell a rose.

“Jam shrugs, he laughs, mouse-scallywag,
Brags, “I’m not a-scared of anything.”

“Aghast, the eldermice surround!
Jammed in the middle, he is bound,
To hear their lecture: cold, profound.
A hounding Warning Song
They sing:”

A book for those who love nonsense poetry at its best; a book to study and enjoy.

Few books are set in a swamp in the middle of the night, making Barry Moser’s illustrations of the night mice intriguing.  The darkness reminds readers that danger is ever present yet it doesn’t overpower the story of the mice as they go about their business.  It’s a joy to study the illustrations to see how Moser makes the magic happen.

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