The Greentail Mouse

Overview

Originally published in 1973, this is the offbeat fable of a city mouse who visits his peaceful country cousins and tells them about Mardi Gras in the city. The country mice are inspired to have their own Mardi Gras. And at first it is fun wearing their masks with sharp teeth and tusks and scaring each other, but after a while they begin believing that they really are ferocious animals.

Leo Lionni’s winsome mice cavort across big double-page spreads of oil paintings and tell a ...

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Overview

Originally published in 1973, this is the offbeat fable of a city mouse who visits his peaceful country cousins and tells them about Mardi Gras in the city. The country mice are inspired to have their own Mardi Gras. And at first it is fun wearing their masks with sharp teeth and tusks and scaring each other, but after a while they begin believing that they really are ferocious animals.

Leo Lionni’s winsome mice cavort across big double-page spreads of oil paintings and tell a story about what is real and what is not that is just right for preschoolers.

The mice become so involved in their Mardi Gras masquerade they forget it is all in fun.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A charming fable, it deserves to take its place once again with other beloved Lionni favorites.” —Children’s Literature

“The art is gorgeous.” —The Horn Book Magazine

Publishers Weekly
A city mouse explains Mardi Gras to a group of country mice and they decide to stage their own celebration, complete with wild animal masks, in The Greentail Mouse by Leo Lionni. In a wordless spread, the artist indicates the mice's personalities transformed into the ferocious beasts with dark shades of gray and brown-a fitting juxtaposition to the holiday's otherwise festive tones.
Children's Literature
When the smug city mouse educates the little field mice as to the excitement of the music, parades, and costumes of Mardi Gras, the mice decide to hold their own Fat Tuesday festivities. With their masks of ferocious animals, they gathered at night to sing and dance until eventually their sweetness turned sour and they began to believe they actually were the ferocious animals of their disguises. The peaceful environment became one of suspicion and hate until one clever little mouse convinced them to take off the masks and be themselves again. One little mouse that had painted her tail green found that no amount of scrubbing could rid her of the color. Forever it was a reminder of a time when innocence was almost lost. Back in print after many years; this reissue of the Lionni classic cautionary tale still has great visual appeal as well as offering a simple message within a well-told story. The images are sharp and crisp, alternate between the bright sunny meadow of the carefree mice and the dark shadows of the night with its menacing play. A charming fable, it deserves to take its place once again with other beloved Lionni favorites. 2003 (orig. 1973), Knopf,
— Beverley Fahey
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375823992
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/11/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,442,923
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.03 (w) x 11.07 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Leo Lionni, an internationally known designer, illustrator, and graphic artist, was born in Holland and lived in Italy until he came to the United States in 1939. He was the recipient of the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was honored posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators’ Lifetime Achievement Award. His picture books are distinguished by their enduring moral themes, graphic simplicity and brilliant use of collage, and include four Caldecott Honor Books: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Hailed as “a master of the simple fable” by the Chicago Tribune, he died in 1999 at the age of 89.
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