The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse: An Aesop Fable Retold & Illustrated
. Templar Books/Candlewick Press . Somerville, Mass.
PZ8.2.W285 Tow 2012 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Helen Ward is giving herself generously to fables! Unwitting Wisdom, King of the Birds, The Rooster and the Fox, and The Hare and the Tortoise precede this book. Ward sets the story at Christmas time in New York in the 1930's. She develops the story nicely, first by dwelling on the country mouse's love of the seasons in the country. Next she lets the city mouse demonstrate what she aptly suggests: he is a mouse with a lot to say. The illustrations are lavish two-page spreads replete with detail. My favorite shows a fenced elevator in the city going up beyond our eye level with the mouse on it behind the person transporting a Christmas tree. What happens in the city is not altogether clear to me. Eventually a pug dog appears. Even as he is running, the country mouse thinks back to his beloved home. He ends up just a country mouse dreaming of spring. A final image shows a mouse cleverly both inside and outside a round of blue cheese. Originally published in England in 2011. This is a rare book in present days that has a dust-jacket distinct from the book's cover. The latter is red cloth, the former a gold-background image of two mice among leaves and flowers. An oval sticker on the front cover proclaims We believe in picture books! This book aptly rewards that belief.