Thursday, September 20, 2012

House mouse, field mouse... and wind-up mouse

My boy and nephews/nieces have to maintain a book log each day for school.  They basically have to read at least one book a day and record it in their book log for their teacher to see.  Once a week they write a book report. Since they do their homework after school under my supervision, I decided to get a bunch of books at the library.  

This week I got some books from Leo Lionni.  He has received many awards already for his work. His stories are captivating and his illustrations are adorable! 

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse

Among the books I borrowed, this book is the children's favorite and mine too. It tells the story of Alexander, a little house mouse who becomes friend with Willy, a wind-up mouse.  The illustrations are very cute and the story is simple but beautiful.  The power of friendship has been told before but this story has a magical and mysterious twist to it! 

Theodore and the Talking Mushroom

Another book the kids liked was this very short story about Theodore, a field mouse, who is afraid of everything. His friends do not seem to be very nice as they laugh at him for his lack of "special talent".  But Theodore may be small and easily frightened but he sure is very clever. He discovers a blue mushroom that can apparently talk and he plays a trick on his friend!  The kids thought it was a funny story but I personally did not like it because of a very silly reason: the talking blue mushroom freaked me out big time!

The fact that it could utter a word without having a personality was creepy and I really thought it was going to eat Theodore at some point (have no fear, it did not happen). I know it's so silly but to me the mushroom was not cute; it was monstruous!

Nicolas, Where Have You Been?

I have mixed feelings about this book. It tells the story of field mice and their search for sweet berries.  But the problem is that the birds ate all the sweet berries and so only sour or unripe berries are left.  Nicolas, one little mouse, goes on a quest to find sweet berries and is kidnapped by a big bird... but he escapes and falls into the nest of a nice family of birds.

The moral of the book is great and the storyline is well told. But... and that's a big BUT, it has also two full pages of illustration depicting a fight scene of incredible violence between the mice and birds.  The mice look terribly angry, and chase after the birds with sticks, one mouse even stands on top of a bird and is shown stabbing the bird who is bleeding!

I wished I had seen this illustration before my kid read the book because we were both very shocked and the boy was upset afterward. Which reminds me to read the books or at least the reviews before giving the children any books to read.


  1. Je suis une grande fan d'histoires avec des souris pour héros principaux. J'aime beaucoup "Cortex et Minus" par exemple. Cortex veut conquérir le monde et échafaude toujours des plans incroyables et Minus suit sans trop comprendre les choses.
    Pour revenir au sujet, le seul reproche que je ferai aux livres que tu as présenté dans ce post concerne les dessins. Ils sont très minimalistes et pas très jolis à mon sens. D'ailleurs, cette remarque est également vraie pour les dessins-animés actuels. Ils ne sont pas esthétiquement aussi réussis que les anciens Walt Disney mais cela n'engage que moi.
    Bonne continuation Miss B!

    1. Bonjour Laura! Je me rappelle de Cortex et Minus :D Pour les dessins, c'est vrai qu'ils ne sont pas superbes mais c'est un genre. Les enfants ne se sont pas plaint mais eux aussi aiment davantage les images Disney!

  2. Thanks for sharing these - Leo Lionni's illustrations are so adorable.

    1. Thanks for your comment! All the kids I know love these books :) They ask me to read and re-read them all the time :D

  3. We love Leo Lionni but we've never read these. I'll have to check them out. Our favourites are Swimmy, It's Mine! and An Extraordinary Egg.

    1. Good to know! I'll check those titles out next time I go to the library! Thanks!