A Mouse Called Julian

Flying Eye. Apr. 2019. 40p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781912497065.
K-Gr 2–Julian the mouse prefers a life of solitude, avoiding animals aboveground who try to eat him (like the cat) along with those below who get in his way (like other mice). Furthermore, he makes sure to dodge moles, rabbits, and badgers, hides from the farmer and her dog, and utilizes one specific branch to escape a hungry barn owl. Little does he know that he is being watched by a cunning fox with daggerlike teeth, who smashes through his window only to get stuck there. An unexpected friendship develops when Julian begins sharing his dinner and talking long into the night with the fox. When the latter reciprocates by saving him from the clutches of a hungry owl, the two discover that necessity makes an unlikely alliance. In the spirit of Aesop’s “Lion and the Mouse,” two very different creatures learn the benefits of friendly cooperation, though this version features an abrupt twist to the plot when the fox gobbles up Julian before the hungry owl can snatch him…only to release a soggy Julian dangling at the end of his tongue. The ending may frighten some young children, but others will relish the surprise turn of events. Evil enemy turning good makes for a satisfying conclusion, restoring faith in a happy ending had by all. The labyrinthine tunnels underground, separating Julian from the others is a clever detail. Further, children should be intrigued by the fox’s big, beady eye staring at him from above. 
VERDICT A good book to be paired with the better-known “Lion and the Mouse,” and a satisfying addition to a picture book collection promoting friendly teamwork and cooperation

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