This Friday I went to a massive booksale, organized by the the local chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women, and wandered through several rooms of hundreds of boxes of books…and found this. Finally! For 25 cents, my very own copy of Mouse Tales, another Arnold Lobel book (along with the Frog and Toad series) that my sister owned and I didn’t…until Friday.
Mouse Tales is a collection of seven bedtimes stories told by a bespectacled and mustachioed father to his seven little mouslings…and I can’t tell you which is my favourite. “The Wishing Well”, with the splendid wishes of the wishing mouse all implied in one quick illustration? “The Journey”, with a tired mouse wearing out mode of transport after mode of transport to visit his mother until he finally buys himself a new pair of feet? “Clouds” and the little imaginative mouse who is finds a cloud-cat in the sky and is – somewhat – reassured by his mother when it is blown away (but did not look up for the rest of the day)? “The Old Mouse” who suspenders break so that other mice run away because (gasp) his pants are down…until some kids help him hold up his pants with chewing gum? Or maybe, “The Bath” and the mouse who was still dirty – even when his entire town was covered with water:
I believe that this book is still published as a part of the “I Can Read” series. Vicky did a review of the Frances books, in which she pointed out that the “I Can Read” series has a number of flaws, one of which is sounding like a textbook and the other of which is “dumbing down” of kids books. I can’t tell you if Mouse Tales is dumbed down (I can’t imagine how that could happen. Maybe by saying “gum” instead of “chewing gum”?) because I have an “original” copy (1972). But I think it would probably be worth purchasing anyhow, because of Lobel’s imaginative illustrations.
Reading Ages: Pre-school to grade 1 or 2.
What the Wishing Mouse wished for: She wished to be a princess with curly hair and jewels, an enormous crown, and an ice cream cone the size of her head with a cherry on top.
Rating: A+. That’s right, there’s a “plus”, because the book made my husband laugh out loud, so it’s a winner for children and adults, alike.