John Burningham returns to the theme of mice for the first time since his 1964 classic, Troubloff: the mouse who wanted to play the balalaika.
The mouse, or rather family of mice in this story has no musical inclinations; rather they desire only to live peaceably alongside the human family whose house they share.
The mice are fully aware of the humans, keeping well out of their way and only emerging at night once the humans have retired to bed.
The humans in contrast, are completely ignorant of their co-residents.
One evening though, on his way to bed, the boy spies a small furry creature …
Before you can say, “Look, there is a mouse,” his father has called the rodent exterminator.
The children are firmly on the side of the mice insisting they’re harmless. They have just until morning to alert them; so they write a note warning them of the imminent danger.
Exit one mouse family …
The following morning the mouse catcher comes: job done, so he says.
The children know otherwise and watch the mice at play from their bedroom window, even making things for them to play on.
But, with the coming of winter, their playthings and the mice are nowhere to be seen. Where can they have gone, without even leaving a note, the children want to know.
I wonder …
In this exploration of the secret world of mice and children, Burningham’s work is as fresh as ever, yet has that enduring, timeless appeal for both youngsters and adults. The former will revel in sharing the children’s secret and the artist’s delicate touch; the latter will delight in the detail, including the copy of Borka, (an early Burningham classic), being clutched by the boy on his way to bed. And who wouldn’t be charmed by the sight of the mouse child holding his cuddly toy …
I’ve signed the charter