November 17, 2017

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Mousetropolis by R. Gregory Christie | SLJ Review

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MousetropolisCHRISTIE, R. Gregory. Mousetropolis. illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 32p. Holiday House. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823423194; ebk. $16.95. ISBN 9780823434879. LC 2013020212.
Gr K-2–A retelling of Aesop’s “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.” After a letter arrives from his country cousin, City Mouse, unwilling to tolerate the noise emanating from a neighboring apartment in Mousetropolis, decides to vacation in the country. There are humorous touches in the brief text, but it is the illustrations, executed in acrylic gouache, that make this version a delight. A striking scene depicts the cousins hurrying through the woods to attend a jamboree where they will dance accompanied by mice playing a washboard, jug, and homemade bass. Spidery black tree limbs tower over them, and text reading, “Whoooooooooooo!” stretches across the page. Several spreads later, that sound-maker, his large yellow eyes staring out at readers, appears front and center. When Country Mouse becomes disenchanted with his quiet life, City Mouse, unimpressed with country food and fearful of that owl, joins him in a decision to leave for the city. With their huge ears and big black eyes, they each fill a page as they arrive at “the same idea.” As they travel atop a red train, large predominantly black and green diagonal brush strokes suggest rapidly disappearing scenery. Station entertainers, “busy mice” in suits and ties holding phones and tablets, and the owl’s counterpart—a large cat that sends everybody scurrying—are all part of the city scenes. Ultimately both mice determine that their own environment is “home,” but it is left to readers to formulate the fable’s moral. VERDICT A wonderful rendering that should be part of every folktale collection.–Marianne Saccardi, Children’s Literature Consultant, Greenwich, CT

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s August 2015 issue.

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