Monday, November 23, 2009

REVIEW: The Lion & the Mouse

Pinkney, J.  (2009).  The Lion and the Mouse.  New York:  Little, Brown and Company.


Jerry's back!  And his illustrations of this retelling of one of Aesop's fable are amazing.  (Caldecott amazing?  Maaaaaaaaaaybe?  Again, I'm not a betting kinda girl)  They make the book.  (Literally!  Since the book is almost wordless)  And that may be the reason why Little, Brown and Company chose to solely have an illustration on the front cover of the book.  No text.

Don't worry though.  The mouse graces the back cover (again with no text).  Using visual literacy alone, a reader can know that this is the story of The Lion and the Mouse.  It's awesome attention to detail that when opened flat, the reader can see that the lion is looking at the mouse.  Fun!  I likes it muchly!

And all this peritext hints at the content:  A picturebook that is almost completely wordless except for the hoots, squeaks, and roars of the animals featured in the story.

The fact that the animals aren't as anthropomorphized as they often are in other retellings is fun.  Pinkney calls the choice "natural."  I thought it was a nice departure from the majority of the ways that Aesop's fables are shared--which usually feature talking animals with a clear moral at the end of each short story.

30-Second Plot Summary:  After a lion spares a mouse, the wee little mouse finds itself in a unique position to help the lion in return.

Wee-little kiddies are especially prone to liking this story, since it's the wee-little creature that *Spoiler* manages to save the big-tough lion.


This is an excellent book to encourage visual literacy.  For the youngest of readers, a teacher can work on having children label the different types of animals featured.  For kindergartners and first graders, a teacher can encourage the students to narrate or summarize the story.  The story also lends itself to play acting, with students taking turns pretending to be the mouse, the mice babies, the lion and the humans.

For older kids, a teacher could give students access to different versions of the fable and the young readers could compare the different approaches.

Tasty Rating:  !!!!


  1. I absolutely love this book- it would be my pick for Caldecott considering what else I've seen so far this year!

  2. Aww, cute. And I like the art.



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