Tag Archives: mouse

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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by Leo Lionni
Alfred A. Knopf, 1967
Caldecott Honor Book

This book is about the quiet person who studies the environment around him/her and shares it when the time is right. It’s my personal favorite of Leo Lionni’s books.

The story is about a family of five mice who work hard all year to survive the long winter. Frederick seemingly does nothing to help, and when asked, he says he is gathering sun rays, colors, and words to share during the cold winter months. Winter comes and when food runs out, the mice ask Frederick for help and Frederick reminds them of the warm, colorful days and entertains his fellow mice. His fellow mice accept and benefit from his efforts. This is his contribution to their survival during the bleakest of winter.

This story speaks to the quiet part of a child, a part often overlooked by our American culture.

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The Lion and the Mouse

The Lion and the Mouse

By Jerry Pinkney
Little Brown and Company, 2009
Caldecott Medal Winner

Award-winning illustrator Jerry Pinkney tells us the story of the lion and the mouse through his loose drawings done with pencil, watercolor, and colored pencils on paper.  The masterful lion’s head fills the front cover, yet he is watching something.  We turn over the book and find a mouse watching him.  We already know we are in for a treat.

We open with the mouse, running for her life from her predators.  She unknowingly happens upon the lion, who idly picks her up by her tail.  They seem to have a discussion, and then the mouse is let go.  The mouse scampers home to her babies and the lion struts around to be noticed.  We then see men arrive with a large net.  The net captures the lion, hoisting him up into the trees.  The beast roars, fighting to get out.  The mouse hears the call and knows the lion is in trouble.  She runs to see if she can help.  She decides she can gnaw through the rope.  We can see the humiliation and gratitude on the beast’s face of being saved by a tiny mouse.  The mouse works away, until at last the lion falls to the ground.  The lion thanks the mouse, and she runs off with a rope knot, evidence of her encounter.  Her children play with the knot as a toy, while the mother looks on, knowing they have no idea what she just experienced.

Jerry captures every emotion of the mouse and lion, telling the story on many levels.  Each picture requires a study to soak in the messages shared.  This wordless book invites you to study each expression, each landscape to take in Jerry’s rich story.

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