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Seven Blind Mice (Reading Railroad) Paperback – June 10, 2002

4.8 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a stunning celebration of color Caldecott medalist Young ( Lon Po Po ) offers a vibrant variation on the fable of the blind men trying to identify an elephant. Seven differently-hued blind mice approach the "strange Something" in their midst on successive days and report their findings to the group. A large black square provides the background for each painting, a dramatic contrast to the brilliant images "felt" by the sightless rodents. Young's textured, cut-paper illustrations allow readers to visualize just how a floppy ear might be mistaken for a fan ("I felt it move!"); the elephant's curving trunk springs to life as both a jewel-green snake and a glowing yellow spear. The spare text permits greater exploration and enjoyment of the artwork--it may be difficult to read the story straight through without stopping to compare the various images. The "Mouse Moral" that concludes the tale--"Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole"--may seem superfluous to those who prefer the imaginative "vision" of the mice. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- A real winner, on many levels. The first impression is visual delight. Brilliant colors and varied textures of paper collage are placed in striking contrast against velvety black pages. Bold white lettering imposed on the dark background tells of seven blind mice, seen in seven bright colors. Over the course of a week each investigates, in turn, the strange ``Something'' it encounters. To one it is a pillar, to another a snake, to another a cliff. Finally, on the seventh day, the white mouse, running across the thing and remembering what the others found, concludes that it is an elephant. The tale ends with the moral that wisdom comes from seeing ``the whole.'' Adapting the old fable of the blind men and the elephant by weaving in the days of the week, the mice, and the beautiful shapes of the things they see, Young gives children a clever story, wise words, and a truly exciting visual experience.
- Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: AD350L (What's this?)
  • Series: Reading Railroad
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (June 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698118952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698118959
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This children's book is not only a wonderful tale but it also uses beautiful illustrations that only enhance the story. The book would be an excellent resource for teachers to use when teaching about morals, the importance of taking your time, or even collages (art). This is a wonderful book with a strong moral story line and exciting, eye catching pictures.
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Format: Hardcover
Six out of seven curious mice draw fast conclusions of the unknown. The seventh, the wise takes time to learn. A beautiful book full of color that excites the imagination and transfers wisdom.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was wonderful. The illustrations were so bright and distinct. There are seven blind mice tring to figure out the identity of an object by feeling it. The first six mice make their decisions very quickly, therefore making the wrong choice. The seventh mouse takes his precious time. He runs on top of the object. He runs back and forth. When he finally makes his decision it is the correct one. This book would be great in teaching children to look at every angle of a situation before making a decision.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a children's book based on the famous Indian fable about blind mice who encounter an elephant, each describing it differently: the moral being that you must "see" the whole object to truly know it. The book was a 1993 Caldecott Honor book (i.e., a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best illustration in a book for children and the beautiful collages enhance the story. This is the best presentation of this famous tale that I have seen.
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Format: Paperback
Ed Young unveiled his artistic brilliance in 1989 with his Caldecott winner Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, a Chinese version of Little Red Riding Hood that is so compelling as to be genuinely disturbing. This book, also earning a Caldecott recognition, is much gentler. It reinvents the traditional Indian tale of the blind men and the elephant with seven blind mice of different colors. This, of course, reminds you of Mother Goose's "Three Blind Mice," but these mice keep their tails -- in fact, the first we see of them are brightly colored tails waving at the edge of a field of black. The story is animated with dynamic visual scenes made from cut-paper collage, in which each mouse in turn experiences and then explains a different aspect of the elephant. The use of primary colors and the systematic, deliberate way in which each mouse sallies forth on a new day of the week makes this a wonderfully predictable tale with humor, surprise, and a satisfying ending.

The author concludes with an explicit moral that not every reader will easily connect with the story events: "Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole." I think he is probably speaking from a Buddhist perspective, and "seeing the whole" may refer to the concept of Nirvana. Sidenote: Most of the little I know about Eastern mysticism I learned from The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, 5th Edition, which provides a quick, accessible survey of major religions from a Christian perspective.
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Format: Hardcover
This book retells the ancient Indian tale of seven blind men who try to decide what an elephant is like based on examining one part of it. In this book, it is seven blind mice that examine the elephant; six of them draw incorrect conclusions based on one feel, whereas the seventh mouse takes it’s time, and learns the truth about the elephant. I was particularly pleased with the moral of this story.

The mice are each of a different color and examine the elephant on a different day, which helps expose children to the concepts of color and days of the week. The artwork is humorous which helps with children too young to read, and the text is simple enough for young readers. For reference purposes, my own 1st grader had no problem reading this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young is a terrific folk tale about seven blind mice. When something new comes each mouse goes out to see what it is and they all come back with different ideas. The final mouse looks at the entire thing and figures out what it is teaching a great lesson.

I purchased the picture book as well as the audio version of this book. The audio version is beautiful and the background music is magical and really adds to the story. I used it in my music classroom because the music was so fantastic.

I recommend this story to kids 3-7. It's a fantastic read-a-loud.
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Format: Hardcover
Seven Blind Mice is a beautiful book to share with children. Young's magnificent collage illustrations set against a stark black backdrop are mysterious and compelling. His text is sparse, poetic, and wholly to the point. Every time I have shared this book with my kindergarten class, they have asked for it again and again. I heartily recommend it for children,parents, and teachers. Young's message to know the whole elephant before you proceed is a timely one for everyone.
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