________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 10 . . . . January 4, 2007

cover

Ten Old Men and a Mouse.

Cary Fagan. Illustrated by Gary Clement.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2007.
32 pp., cloth, $21.99.
ISBN 978-0-88776-716-6.

Subject Heading:
Mice-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

*** /4

Reviewed from prepublication copy.

internal art

Ten Old Men and a Mouse is a book that will find an appreciative audience with the older generation as well as the young. Written with gentle humor and a real understanding of the voice of an aging ethnic group, this engaging title is full of charm both in text and pictures.

     The setting is an old synagogue in what was once a vibrant, busy house of worship. It is now attended to by only 10 elders who come to pray each day. The discovery of a "new member" in the form of a tiny mouse breaks the monotony of their days. A discussion ensues about how to rid themselves of this unwanted visitor. The priceless and unique dialogue reveals each of the men’s personalities. Their efforts to catch the mouse with a variety of items and their good natured comments on their own ailments are delightful and will bring a smile to most readers. Before long, these 10 aging and lonely gentlemen respond to the mouse, and a change of attitude is evident.

"I guess it won't hurt to have one mouse in the synagogue," said Gabe. "After all every life is sacred."

"Besides," said Saul, "he's the first new member we've had in thirty-five years."

     Their warm acceptance is complicated by the appearance of baby mice. What are these loving men to do?

     As in previous titles, most notably, the wonderful Market Wedding, Cary Fagan, an award-winning author, has once again shed light upon his ethnic background in a heartwarming way. Winsome, comic and expressive drawings in watercolor by Gary Clement are as appealing as those seen in The Great Pochinni, winner of the Governor General’s literary award for illustration in 1999. Clement's talent for capturing entertaining facial expressions and unusual perspectives shines here.

Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

 

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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