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Once a Mouse... Paperback – September 30, 1989


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin; 2 edition (September 30, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689713436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689713439
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marcia Brown, one of the most honored illustrators in children's literature, is a three-time Caldecott Medalist and six-time Caldecott Honor illustrator, as well as winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for the body of her work. She lives in Laguna Hills, California.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
56%
4 star
25%
3 star
19%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 16 customer reviews
My daughter who is 6 has loved this story since she was 4.
Veronica
The book is illustrated by woodcuts and it won the 1962 Caldecott Medal for best illustration in a book for children.
R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu)
The award-winning illustrations are also unique and action-packed, and they perfectly complement the text.
Pearl of Wisdom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Described in its day as attaining, "a fluidity rare in the medium", this illustrated book of woodcuts tells a simple fable that has remained beloved for decades. Claiming to be a tale told from ancient India, the story follows a man, a mouse, and the downfall of pride. A wise hermit lives alone in the forest when he happens to spy a mouse about to be eaten. Fearful for the little creature, the man changes his new friend into a cat. When a dog threatens his cat, he turns the mouse into a dog, and then (after a similar situation) into a tiger. Now a fine feline of a beast, the former mouse lords his newfound state over the other animals of the forest. After planning the death of his benefactor, the man changes the tiger into a mouse again and everything goes back to as it was (with the mouse, I suspect, a little wiser).
The woodcuts are fine indeed. Delicate little illustrations imbued with life and verve. From snarling dogs to transformed mice the images stand for themselves. I hadn't been aware of the author/illustrator's work before reading her winning, "Stone Soup". After comparing the two, I have to say they're definitely of equal interest. It's nice to see a book giving a clear sighted look at a fable from another country (in this case, India) without any stereotypes or racism. All in all, it's a nice little book with a strong moral core.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pearl of Wisdom on February 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"A rajah of ancient India is said to have had such popular animal fables collected as a 'mirror for princes' to instruct his errant sons." This particular fable is about a mouse who is helped by a forest hermit with magic powers. The Indian hermit magically transforms the mouse into a cat, a dog, and finally a tiger; however, when the tiger gets too proud and forgets its origins, the hermit turns it back into a mouse.
I love this book because the story teaches many lessons and does not have just one definitive moral. The story could serve as a springboard for discussing several topics with young children: the importance of knowing where you came from, the importance of humility, the Hindu concepts of reincarnation and karma, Darwin's theory of evolution, and even which animals make good pets and which ones don't.
The award-winning illustrations are also unique and action-packed, and they perfectly complement the text.
Children ages 2 and up will enjoy having this story read to them, and children ages 4-8 will probably be able to read the simple text on their own. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages! It's an ancient Indian treasure.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Allison (dallison@biochem.med.ufl.edu) on May 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This short tale for young children is based on an old Indian story from the "Hitopadesa." In ancient India, a wise man saves a mouse by magically transforming him into other animals. Finally, the mouse is changed into a tiger but becomes too arrogant, forgetting that he was once a mouse. The book is illustrated by woodcuts and it won the 1962 Caldecott Medal for best illustration in a book for children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mcHaiku on February 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Once A Mouse" is a fable from India adapted by Marcia Brown who won the Caldecott medal in 1962 for the marvelous woodcuts in this book. As the title page states, it is "a fable cut in wood."

The artistry of woodcuts has always intrigued me and Marcia Brown is totally successful in translating animal emotions, whether scared or scary, bemused or 'lording it' over all. See the dog's wonderful snarling nose and the hermit whose unsurprised, philosophical face contrasts with the haughty tiger who "peacocked about the forest."

The reader is left, like the hermit, to meditate "on big and little" . . . and about how humans, like tigers, can get too big for their britches. Teachers can guide lively discussions even among the youngest - - who will learn to say "chided" - - a gentle word that should be on the world's list of 'protected species'. Reviewer mcHaiku cheers for the works Marcia Brown has shared which are so satisfactory at all levels.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "jgfairc" on October 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I thought that this was a good book beacause it really is good for little kids. It is a easy book to read with very detailed pictures describing what is happening. If you are looking for a good book to read to a little kid this would be a good one. I would reccomend this book to people of all ages.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is about a hermit who helps a little mouse. It is very detailed in both pictures and writing.I reccommend this book for younger readers who enjoy reading and looking a detailed pictures.It also won the 1962 caldecott award of the year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dione Basseri on December 2, 2014
Format: Paperback
Caldecott medal
review This retelling of a story from the Hitopadesa is rendered simply, both in words and art. In fact, new readers may be able to handle this story on their own, with just a little help from adults. But parents may want to read along with their child and discuss the story's moral, of remembering roots and not becoming too haughty with success.

The art style has a very organic feel. And, being so simple, it can be used as inspiration for a class project.

Though enjoyable, this book is unlikely to find its way into a private collection, as there are more modern retellings of Indian tales, done by those who have actual Indian heritage and a greater understanding of appropriate art styles, such as "Ganesha's Sweet Tooth."
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Once a Mouse...
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