Tag Archives: Barry Moser

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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Little Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear

Little Tricker the SquirrelLittle Tricker the Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear
by Ken Kesey, illustrated by Barry Moser
Viking, 1990

A family favorite, we acted out this story, and I’ve seen it beautifully told by several storytellers. Set in the south, with a looong draaawl we meet a trickster squirrel who is rudely awakened by a bear’s “ROARRR!”, that shakes “the cottonwood from root to crown till a critter could hardly stand.” Bear threatens other animals, but none want anything to do with him, until Little Tricker decides to have some fun with him–and so the games begin! This story is probably too long for the television-raised young of today, but if you have a storyteller’s voice and want a good romp through a book, this could become a favorite.

The book is out of print, but you can find used copies on the internet and a few at local libraries.