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The Lion and the Mouse

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Overview

A reckless mouse accidentally scampers across a sleeping lion's paw. The lion awakens with a roar, but he lets the mouse go free. In gratitude, the mouse promises to help the lion if he is ever in need. The lion laughs at the very idea, but sometimes even a little mouse can be strong, and even a lion can be helpless. Bernadette Watts has created an appealing jungle setting for her simple retelling of a favorite Aesop fable.

A tiny mouse helps a mighty lion, who once...

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The Lion and the Mouse

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Overview

A reckless mouse accidentally scampers across a sleeping lion's paw. The lion awakens with a roar, but he lets the mouse go free. In gratitude, the mouse promises to help the lion if he is ever in need. The lion laughs at the very idea, but sometimes even a little mouse can be strong, and even a lion can be helpless. Bernadette Watts has created an appealing jungle setting for her simple retelling of a favorite Aesop fable.

A tiny mouse helps a mighty lion, who once showed him mercy, escape from a trap.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gentle, black-and-white pencil drawings mirror the hushed reverence of this haunting retelling of a well-known Aesop's fable. Just a few lines evoke the lion's command of his forest kingdom and build a sense of foreboding (``[The mouse] stayed, still as stone, his tiny heart beating with the memory of the lion's roar. He crouched, silent as rock, until the shadow of the lion's paw had passed''). Alternating with full-page illustrations, clusters of several small sketches focus frame by frame on one particular moment-the lion's roar, encroaching hunters or the mouse gnawing at the ropes that trap the lion. The effect is dynamic, providing the visual rhythms often missing from monochromatic art. Gossamer soft in its drawings and text, this book is nevertheless animated enough to capture the attention of the very young. All ages. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In this retelling of the Aesop fable of the same name, Watts creates in text and illustration an "uncluttered" picture book version of the fable. She uses simple text, detailed illustrations in soft natural colors, and lots of white space to make the book appealing to younger readers. Preschool "readers" are able to focus on the story and illustrations and ask that it be read again. They enjoy identifying the animals, birds, and insects that Watts includes in the illustrations. Because of the detailed illustrations, the book is best read to individual children or very small groups. The expressions on the faces of the creatures are "childlike" and show the wonderment of exploration. Although the art is the strong attraction of the story, it can also put limitations on the audience. By the age of six, children would find the book too simplistic and childlike. The book is highly recommended for preschool collections. 2000, North-South, Ages 2 to 5, $15.95. Reviewer: Jenny B. (J. B.) Petty
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A gentle picture-book retelling with a slightly different twist. In this version, the main characters first meet when the lion is a young cub. Years pass and the "king of the beasts" is trapped by a hunter's net and ultimately freed by the same mouse. The other details of this familiar fable remain the same, but Watts's illustrations enlarge the setting to include a fanciful African Lion King landscape dotted with meerkats, leopards, baboons, and giraffes. The text is strong with short, descriptive sentences and an effective use of repetition. The palette in the full-spread art reflects the mix of the jungle and desert landscapes depicted: pastel greens alternating with arid browns, yellows, and touches of orange. The illustrations draw upon realistic details for trees and plants yet maintain a cartoonlike sensibility for the animals. Overall, the impression created is one of passivity; there is little drama or action. While this particular adaptation has some weaknesses, it should be a useful addition to storytimes and folklore collections.-Denise Anton Wright, Alliance Library System, Bloomington, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Janice Del Negro
A classic Aesop's fable is given lavish treatment with elegant black-and-white pencil illustrations. Reminiscent of Ed Young's 1979 illustrations for the same tale, Andrew's pictures are rich in tone and intriguing in composition. A subdued orange border used occasionally around the artwork adds color and a sense of control to the pictures, with thick, dazzling white pages and a burnt sienna jacket and endpapers combining to make the book an example of fine design. Wood's text lends itself to reading and telling aloud; its simplicity will entice readers to take a second look at the familiar fable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385154628
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1980

Meet the Author

Though many modern scholars dispute his existence, Aesop's life was chronicled by first century Greek historians who wrote that Aesop, or Aethiop, was born into Greek slavery in 620 B.C. Freed because of his wit and wisdom, Aesop supposedly traveled throughout Greece and was employed at various times by the governments of Athens and Corinth. Some of Aesop's most recognized fables are The Tortoise and the Hare, The Fox and the Grapes, and The Ant and the Grasshopper. His simple but effective morals are widely used and illustrated for children.

Bernadette Watts has loved to draw since her childhood in England. She created her first picture book under the influence of Beatrix Potter. Watts studied at the Maidstone Art School in Kent and is the illustrator of North South fairy tales The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2010

    The Lion & the Mouse Illustrations are truly delightful

    The Lion & the Mouse Illustrations are truly delightful and I have given this book to several friends to share with their children and Grand Children, because it is such a nice story also. I would like to have had it in hardback, but this was the only thing available at the time I was ordering before Christmas. One friend said she is going to make sure her children have more books than toys, thus what a treasure to find a book that will last in their library for years to come. MTLor

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2007

    LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I really love this book. Even though I am not that little to still read it, I still do, once in a while. This book really impacted my life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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