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The Great Cheese Conspiracy Paperback – June, 1989
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More About the Author
Her own two children were the inspiration for the Oliver and Amanda Pig stories, as well as several others, including Dear Mom, You're Ruining My Life. Many of her other books have grown out of her long-time interest in American history. Her historical picture books include Going West, which was cited as an IRA Teachers' Choice and Across the Wide Dark Sea, selected by the New York Public Library as one of the "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing." She has written historical fiction for older readers as well. Her Bound for Oregon was a Child Study Association Book of the Year, and Cabin on Trouble Creek was nominated for children's Choice awards in eight states.
Ms. Van Leeuwen grew up in the small town of Rutherford, New Jersey. She was an avid reader as a child, reading every book she could get her hands on, from Nancy Drew to The Wind in the Willows. At one point, while trying to convince her parents to buy her a dog, she read nothing but dog stories for a whole year. (She got the dog, but when she moved on to horses, her parents refused to cooperate.) Eventually she began writing her own stories, which she illustrated with cut-outs from magazines.
After graduating from Syracuse University, where she majored in journalism, Ms. Van Leeuwen found a job in the children's book department of a New York City publisher. She remained a children's book editor for many years, an experience with inspired her to once again start writing her own stories. Her first book, Timothy's Flower, was published in 1967, and she has been writing and publishing ever since.
Ms. Van Leeuwen now lives in another small town north of New York City with her husband, Bruce Gavril. She has two grown children, David and Elizabeth, and a young grandchild, who will surely inspire more stories.
Visit Ms. Van Leeuwen's website at www.jeanvanleeuwen.com
Top Customer Reviews
With a nod to the gangster movies of the past century, elements of "The Great Cheese Conspiracy" are unlikely to be familiar to children of the current generation. They may have little understanding of the type of criminal gangs portrayed in this book. Further, while their crime is nonviolent and, in the end, although the Enemy, Mr. Sammartino forgives Merciless Marvin and his cohorts, Fats and Raymond, the book does make it seem as if theft and deception are acceptable. The would-be criminals reap the benefit of manipulating their victim's sympathetic nature to gain a comfortable home and plentiful food - no work required. "Merciless Marvin" eventually determines he is not cut out for a life outside crime and returns "Outside" to seek other opportunities.
Jean Van Leeuwen's writing is clear and easy to read. Younger readers should have little trouble reading and understanding the short chapters. This would be a nice read aloud book for preschoolers and a good vehicle for discussions regarding right and wrong. I recommend parents read "The Great Cheese Conspiracy" before reading it to preschoolers or giving it to young readers in order to determine whether the subject material is compatible with their own values.
The book is full of humor, and is very easy to imagine happening in your mind. That's what makes it so great. Plus it's good quality reading--and very appropriate for children.
Marvin and his gang (just two other mice- Fats and Raymond) are ready for The Big Time. No more petty jobs of stealing candy from the movie theater they live in. It's time to move on to something big. What could be big for mice? Well, how about a giant cheese store that's just a short walk from the theater? Marvin scopes the place out and determines that he and his men can perform the biggest heist in history. Luckily for him, Raymond mentions that they could infiltrate the premises and make as many trips as they want to the store, rather than making one big bust. Unfortunately, the store doesn't have any weak points, and they need the key in order to get in after everyone's gone. Even worse, the shop has security in the form of a mean, old, moth-eaten cat.Read more ›
It was only after thinking about the story for a bit that I realized that the whole concept of "gangsters" might feel a bit foreign to most young readers. Gangster movies are mostly a thing of the past, so I think quite a bit of the charm of this book will likely be lost on young readers. Still, this is a very good little caper story, and maybe those kiddos familiar with that gang from Toy Story can draw a few parallels with our daring mice and their quest for the good life. Marvin's decision at the end to leave easy street for a chance at a life of crime and adventure might raise a few eyebrows, but most will be charmed by Raymond, the super intelligent sidekick, Fats the fuse who loves to eat and blow things up, and Marvin the magnificent who is maybe not as smart as he thinks he is. As a grown up, I can only offer a cautious recommend for this classic, but the kid in me thought it was great fun.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this story as a kid and I purchased it for my son's second grade class :) Its funny and entertaining.Published 2 months ago by Dylan Underwood
it was awesome and I loved it so much I would be on a regular season of books it's awesomePublished 13 months ago by Scott77
The Great Cheese Conspiracy is a cute tale of a gang of rodents that plan to steal cheese from the shop near the theater in which they live. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mira Dugan
My second graders loved this book. I mean, it got to the point where they were quoting it and talking in crime boss voices. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Emily J. Morris
The author excels at writing a book that moves along VERY quickly.
We get to see Marvin as an egomaniacal mouse very effectively through first person narration. Read more
Great fun little story of a mouse crime gang. They are planning a great cheese heist! A nice story for kids 6-9 years of age. Nice book!Published 20 months ago by Lynn Ellingwood
This kid's novel was produced originally in 1969, and it is a rollicking tale of some mobster mice pulling off a big score. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Meg Sumner