Of Mice and Books

I'd like to start off by apologizing for the terrible title, I really am sorry. (But not sorry enough to change it, apparently.) Anyway, despite our collective obsession with cats, and the monopoly bunnies and bears seem to have on children's literature, we have some great mouse-themed books in store, and I thought I'd share them with you.

Mouse Guard (David Petersen)

If you've only ever thought of mice as small, helpless animals, this graphic novel will make you think again. The warriors of the Guard are strong, valiant, and deadly with a blade, protecting their folk from the harshest of winters and the deadliest of predators. [grade two and up]

Doctor De Soto (William Steig)

Doctor De Soto is a mouse, but also a dentist, and his only rule is that he won't treat animals who eat mice. Fair enough, but he somehow gets roped into treating a fox's sore tooth, and will need all his cunning to avoid ending up in his patient's stomach. [kindergarten to grade three]

In My Patch (Sara Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich)

This very sweet board book follows a little pumpkin-patch dwelling mouse as she explores her home before returning home to her family. And as a bonus the mouse is very soft! [preschool]

Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, and other mouse books (Kevin Henkes)

I grew up with these books, so I'm a bit biased, but Henkes has created a wonderful little world where each mouse gets their own story (while guest starring in each other's). There's outspoken Lily (with her killer fashion sense), shy Chrysanthemum, and straight-laced Chester and Wilson, and they're all wonderful. [kindergarten to grade two]

Les souris à la plage and Le train des souris (Haruo Yamashita & Kazuo Iwamura)

My coworker Julie saw that I was writing this and ran off to get these for me to add. And they're adorable! When you're a group of baby mice, everything is an adventure, even going to school. The stories are wonderful, the illustrations better. The art, with its funny little details, is something you'll want to keep revisiting. [preschool and up]

The Witches (Roald Dahl)

Everybody loves Dahl, and The Witches always ends up at the top of my list. Proof positive that kids can make something out of the worst situations, the novel's little protagonist gets turned into a mouse by the Grand High Witch herself, and doesn't even slow down in his quest to rid Britain of witches once and for all. [grades three to five, though still fun for older kids]

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