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Ned Mouse Breaks Away
     

Ned Mouse Breaks Away

by Tim Wynne-Jones, Dusan Petricic (Illustrator)
 

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Ned Mouse has been sent to jail. His crime? Writing "The government is unfair to mice!" in his spinach. But Ned does not like jail. He does not like his tiny cell. He does not like the food. And he does not look good in stripes.
"I would give my right arm to be out of here," he thinks. Thus begin his attempts to make a break for freedom. Yet each time his

Overview

Ned Mouse has been sent to jail. His crime? Writing "The government is unfair to mice!" in his spinach. But Ned does not like jail. He does not like his tiny cell. He does not like the food. And he does not look good in stripes.
"I would give my right arm to be out of here," he thinks. Thus begin his attempts to make a break for freedom. Yet each time his attempts are foiled by the keeper.
The years pass, and Ned very nearly gives up. Then one day he receives a letter from his long-lost friend Mort, who tempts him with stories of the beautiful sunrises at his house by the sea. Filled with new determination, Ned comes up with the most daring escape plan yet. He'll mail himself to Mort, piece by piece. And all he needs for his plan to succeed is the cooperation of the gullible keeper.
Award-winning author TimWynne-Jones brings his wit and humor to bear in this gently subversive fable. Pen and wash illustrations by Dusan Petricic beautifully capture Ned's despair, hope and determination, and cleverly convey the bizarre conceit of his masterful escape plan.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Slender as a mouse's tale, this breezy novel brims with chuckles. "I would give my right arm to be out of here," says Ned Mouse, who is serving time for writing "The government is unfair to mice!" in his spinach. The inmate's uniform is most unflattering ("He did not look good in stripes"), and he's saddled with an exceptionally dim-witted guard ("What a mind.... Pure mahogany," Mouse thinks). Ned's attempts at escape go awry in a slapstick series of blunders. When he tries to tunnel out, he accidentally lands in the warden's house and is waylaid by a bowl of chocolate tiramisu he can't resist. A black-and-white full-page drawing shows the resulting bedlam when the tin airplane he builds in shop class and passes off as a washing machine gets snagged on the prison wall ("It has pretty big wings for a washing machine," notes the gullible guard). Finally, Ned hits on a hilariously improbable solution: he mails himself off piece by piece to a friend ("Mouse started small: some claws, a whisker or two, and his funny bone. He had never liked his funny bone, anyway"), and a twist ending reveals how much the pesky prisoner had grown on the guard. Wynne-Jones's light-hearted caper perks along, fueled by Ned's sardonic wisecracks. Ages 8-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ned Mouse is in prison for writing that the government is unfair to mice. He is serving a life sentence in a place he cannot tolerate. Determined to be free, he attempts a number of escapes: digging out, flying out, dressing in disguise, and designing a vacuum cleaner big enough for a stowaway. His creative thinking is of no use, however, as the keeper of the prison is as passionate about keeping Mouse in as Mouse is about getting out. Receiving a letter from his dear friend Mort about the joys of life by the sea, Mouse makes one last desperate attempt at freedom. He begins sending himself to Mort, piece by piece, through the mail. The story continues with humorous and touching accounts between Mouse and his keeper as the real Mouse slowly disappears. Keeper ultimately misses the heart of Mouse and suspects that he was finally tricked. This is a touching tale about the need for freedom and the desire for relationships. It is creative and reflective and has little appeal for the too literal minded. Although its format is one of an early reader's chapter book, its text is much more mature-minded. Its message clearly is about putting your life back together again after a time of feeling all broken up. This is a lesson for the older child and the reflective adult. 2003, Groundwood Books,
— Andrea Sears Andrews
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Ned Mouse, a political prisoner sentenced to life for writing negative things about the government (using pureed spinach), is desperate to escape jail, but his attempts are always thwarted by his dumb-as-a-post prison keeper. After 17 years, a letter from an old friend prompts him to try a daring new escape; he mails parts of himself to Morty, a few pieces at a time. He fashions replacement parts out of tin so as not to raise suspicion. All goes according to plan until most of him is residing happily by the sea with Morty, and only a tin replica is left in prison (except for his writing arm, which he had to leave behind to wrap and address the last package). The tone of this surreal story is both quirky and matter-of-fact. Readers will become so fond of this tenacious mouse with an amazing facility for tinwork that they will accept with a grin and barely raised eyebrow the idea of Ned sending off a package containing "some claws, a whisker or two, and his funny bone." The protagonist's clearly impossible tin creations, his eye-rolling comments about his keeper's mental abilities, his endless variety of far-fetched escape attempts, and even the goofy illustrations are reminiscent of Warner Bros. cartoons starring Bugs Bunny or the Roadrunner, but with more sweetness and humanity. Funny, light, and deliciously different.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780888994745
Publisher:
Groundwood Books
Publication date:
03/05/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
68
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.44(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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