Mouse and his child book
The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban: moving metaphysics for kids
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As I've written here before, I'm not much of a re-reader. Nor do I like the idea of reading for comfort: when I read I want to be challenged, unsettled, disorientated. Nevertheless, there is one book which, when in gloomy moods and melancholy moments, I find myself picking up again and again. It's not — though it probably should be — the Book of Psalms, although I do find in, say, Psalm 51 a kind of resilience that is a supportive. It was not a book I ever read as a child.
The Mouse and His Child is the story of two clockwork mice, a father and son. When the key in the father's back is wound, he dances in a circle, swinging his son up and down. They begin their existence in the warmth of a toy shop at Christmastime, surrounded by fellow windup toys; all the mouse child wants is for the lady elephant who rather puts on airs to be his mother, the seal who balances a ball on her nose to be his sister, and for them all to live in the elegant doll house on the counter. Alas, there is a long and difficult journey between the mice and any such hope of happiness. Soon they are sold to a family, and for several years are only brought out at Christmas.
It is about toy mice, yet the clockwork father and son move through a world in which small animals act out human dramas.
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The Mouse and his Child is a perfect book for the word-dreaming child. The tale of two tin wind-up mice in search of their own territory sings with incident, humour and emotion. At its heart is a story of family bonds that cannot be broken. And now Faber has reissued the illustrated novel as part of their classics series — in a neat square-ish volume with bright gold-embossed lettering — not quite fifty years after it first appeared in The novel begins around Christmas time in a toy store, where a cluster of toys wait for new homes and new futures. Soon the mouse and his child are bought, but before many years they are simply thrown away. The pair endures the peaks and valleys of life on the road after a tramp winds them and sends them out into the world.
It has been described as "a classic of children's literature and is the book for which Hoban is best known. A new edition with new illustrations by David Small was released in The mouse and child of the title are a pair of toy mice, joined by the hands and operated by clockwork. The story tells of their beginning in a toy store, their purchase and eventual discarding, their pursuit by a malicious rat, and their quest to become self-winding. The story shares commonalities with E. White 's Charlotte's Web by contrasting with a large part of children's literature in the sense of occasional use of advanced vocabulary, a willingness to include adult themes, and talking animals. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.