The lovely illustration gracing our cover is taken from a newly realized version of this magical tale set in glamorous 1930s New York at Christmas time. The book is a sumptuous retelling in the hands of award-winning artist Ward. ~ Reviewed by Jessica Wood
“A classic fable from Aesop is retold and illustrated in sumptuous watercolors. Depression-era New York City is bustling and loud and frightening for a timid country cousin. The country is, of course, too tame for a mouse used to the hubbub of the city. Fortunately, each has the perfect place to live.”
— Ellen Richmond, Children's Book Cellar, Waterville, ME
A gorgeously illustrated and poetically written classic, set in a 1930s-era city at Christmastime
Rediscover the tale of the simple country mouse, magically retold by Helen Ward. Beguiled by his cousin’s amazing tales, the country mouse visits the electric city. Unfortunately the town mouse forgot to mention that the city has a lot of noise, tall buildings . . . and dangerous dogs! Helen Ward’s 1930s New York at Christmas is at once gorgeous and frighteningly busy. In the end the reader understands both why the town mouse loves his exciting life and why the country mouse is content with his peaceful home.
About the Author
Helen Ward won the first Walker Prize for Children’s Illustration and twice won the British National Art Library Award. She has also been short-listed for the 2003 Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in Gloucestershire, England.
A splendid retelling of Aesop’s familiar fable. . . .Sumptuous watercolor illustrations enhance the rural/urban juxtaposition with luminous close-ups of country mouse immersed in the seasonal flora and fauna of the English countryside and overwhelmed by the “noise and bustle and hum” of a 1930s-era city at Christmas. The richly detailed illustrations invite and reward close inspection. A visual stunner. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Brief, beautifully descriptive text placed amid charming watercolor illustrations. . . Ward’s lush pastoral illustrations bring out the deep contrasts between rural and city life. As the city cousin describes the “noise and bustle and hum” of his home, the accompanying painting shows a huge, shining harvest moon resting on a field of wheat sheaves and branches of plump blueberries and golden apples. City scenes are busy with tall, sprawling buildings and their leaded windows; armloads of Christmas gifts and ornaments; overladen sweet tables. This retelling, closely based on the original short fable, is a worthy addition to any collection. —School Library Journal (starred review)
Ward’s simple but carefully selected language is so descriptive, it’s perfect for young readers. But the real star here is Ward’s breathtaking watercolor illustrations; her play on light and perspective make each turn of the page a delight. The detail and care taken with every painting will keep readers gazing into her exquisite, colorful world long after the words have been read. —Library Media Connection (highly recommended)
Full-bleed pages showcase Ward’s blend of luscious, naturalist illustrations and flat backdrops. This updated fable pictures opposing ways of life, with farm pleasures coming out ahead. —Publishers Weekly
The watercolor art is sumptuously idyllic, with both rural and urban locales looking pretty darn lovely, from the verdant meadows and freshly harvested golden fields of the country to the bright lights, finely ornamented architecture, and well-heeled residents of the city. —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Both country and city provide a visual treat for young eyes. But it’s the time-honored message about knowing where you belong that resonates —Booklist
Ward's paintings make a symphony of gold — from the faux-gilt cover, to the sun-drenched hues of the meadows, to the glow of the city's brass elevator doors and nighttime windows lit from within. —Newsday online
A pared-down, sumptuously illustrated retelling of an Aesop's fable that suggests there's no place like home. (Starred review) —Shelf Awareness for Readers