Posts Tagged mouse

The Mouse and His Child – the play

The Mouse and His Child – wonderful book! – is now a play!

And to make it complete, there’s a clockwork installation from the MAD museum.


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The Cat Metamorphosed Into A Woman

La chatte métamorphosée en femme

It was not happiness that came over her body
as you may have thought, but puzzlement
at the gradual elongation of trunk, the narrowing
into a waist, thinning of white fur until what
was left gave her face a peaked appearance,
like one stunned by a ghost.  But it was only the ghost
of herself she saw in the hall mirror as she slipped
the red blouse over her new breasts, stepped

into the red skirt that covered pubic mound
and spreading hips.  How awkward she was
in this unwanted body.  She sat on the Victorian
chair at the small pie crust-table,
her eyes red-rimmed, empty,
immeasurably sad, as she stared at us.
She leaned forward a bit on her arms.
She didn’t know what else to do with them.

Patricia Fargnoli

The story is from Aesop:

A young Fellow that was passionately in Love with a Cat made it his humble Suit to Venus to turn Puss into a Woman. The Transformation was wrought in the twinkling of an Eye, and out she comes, a very bucksome Lass. The doating Sot took her home to his Bed; and bad fair for a Litter of Kittens by her that Night: But as the loving Couple lay snugging together, a Toy took Venus in the Head, to try if the Cat had chang’d her Manners with her Shape; and so for Experiment, turn’d a Mouse loose into the Chamber. The Cat, upon this Temptation, started out of the Bed, and without any regard to the Marriage-Joys, made a leap at the Mouse, which Venus took for so high an Affront, that she turn’d the Madam into a Puss again.

THE MORAL. The extravagant Transports of Love, and the wonderful Force of Nature, are unaccountable; the one carries us out of our selves, and the other brings us back again.

THE ILLUSTRATIONS. Are from the fantastic Etchings of Marc Chagal.

JUST BECAUSE there’s a moral DOESN’T MEAN that change is impossible. REMEMBER this is just what happened to ONE CAT.

I LIKE THE IDEA of taking one of these Chagal pictures and the FABLE and stepping inside the subjects THOUGHTS and EMOTIONS at this time…

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a sick thorn bush in the mouse soup

photo by Twenty Cent Mixture

We still haven’t finished watching the amazing and essential Man on Wire, but in the meantime, some more of Arnold Lobel, this time from Mouse Soup.

This book, is about a mouse that gets caught by a weasel, who wants to turn him into mouse soup. The mouse thinks quickly. He says the soup needs some stories. The weasel wants to hear them. So mouse makes up some stories.

You can see John Clarke Matthews stop-animation adaptation here:

or here’s part of it on YouTube, where an old lady has a sick thorn:

(just listening to a radio program on Radio New Zealand about Ursula Nordstrom – who “is credited with presiding over a transformation in children’s literature in which morality tales written for adult approval gave way to works that instead appealed to children’s imaginations and emotions.” She was editor for Lobel, and for quite a few other authors / illustrators I’ve blogged about. Thanks to Twenty Cent Mixture, whose flickr picture above led me to her blog entry.)

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one damn thing after another

Thank you Mick for The MOUSE and his CHILD by Russell Hoban.

With a little enforced immobility the last few days, I was very glad of it, and what a book it is!

‘Where are we?’ the mouse child asked his father. His voice was tiny in the stillness of the night.

‘I don’t know,’ the father answered.

‘What are we, Papa?’

‘I don’t know. We must wait and see.’

Like the Thumbelina type stories – chick pea boy, bean boy, like Pinocchio, from absurd helpless beginnings, through a gruesome trail of one damn thing after another the wind-ups walk and wait their way towards self-winding. But they discover better things than that on the way.

As well as the bleak, bizarre and capricious, and the peculiar, particular and unexpected…

Reasonable guy that I am I find myself agreeing with all the forthright reviews on – here’s a few to give a taste:

By E. R. Bird “Ramseelbird (Manhattan, NY) –

Every copy of “The Mouse and His Child” should come with the following warning label: “ATTENTION – The contents of this book are deeper, more metaphorical, and far too clever for the immature adult. Should you find this book in the hands of such an individual, redirect it immediately to that of a mature child instead”…

By D. Montano –

This is NOT a book for children. There is no positive lesson to be learned from this story, there is no inspiration, nor optimism. This book is a grim allegory, full of allusions to the real world of war and murder. This is a fairy tale as envisioned by Camus.

By A Customer
For this literature lover, The Mouse and Hiis Child is the best children’s book and one of the best novels I have ever read.
I first read The Mouse and His Child with my 4 year old son. We devoured it in one weekend, read it again one month later and yet again six months later. The book gets better every time.
There is a film…

…but really it needed a Jan Švankmajerto to do the story real justice.

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A hero of the bed time story: Martin Waddell

Farmer Duck, Can’t You Sleep Little Bear, Owl Babies… his books have brought us warmth and wonder at bedtimes. They have been the life breathed into a thousand infant school lessons too, mine included.

I like Squeak-A-Lot particularly:


In an old, old house lived a small small mouse

who had no one to play with.

So the small small mouse went out of the house

to find a friend to play with.

And he found a bee.

“Can I play with you?” the mouse asked the bee.

“Of course,” said the bee.

“What will we play?” asked the mouse.

“We’ll play Buzz-a-lot,’ said the bee.


But the mouse didn’t like it a lot.

So he went to find a better friend to play with.

…The same kind of thing happens with the dog, chicken and, worst of all, the cat (“Wham! Bam! Scram!\”). The mouse runs away, until he finds some other mice. With them he plays Buzz-a-lot, Woof-a-lot, and Cluck-a-lot, with a Wham! Bam! Scram! chase that takes them back to the old house where they… sleep-a-lot.

In this way, among friends, frightening things are made approachable, danceable, sleep-able.

On this site Martin Waddell says:

As a child

I was read to a lot as a child by people who knew how to read stories. These stories came alive for me, and the love of story has stayed with me ever since.

As an adult

I\’ve been blown up, buried alive and had cancer as an adult, and survived all these experiences, so I\’m a very lucky man. I live where I lived as a child, and nearly all my stories come from things that have happened to me here, at the foot of the Mountain of Mourne.

As an artist

I work in an old stone barn beside my home, and dream my stories in the garden and on long walks on the beach in front of my house. I never write anywhere else. This is where I belong.

There are pictures of Martin Waddell in situ on this page.
There’s a good interview with him here – be patient with the interviewer at the start.

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Lucy Cousins, thank you!

1173788288-hr-7From very early on Sam watched Maisy the Mouse‘s adventures wth her friends Cyril the Squirrel, Charlie the Elephant, and Talulah the Bird. We watched the videos and read the books, and sometimes talked about the stories. Sam liked it because it was safe – nothing bad ever happened. Except when Cyril once waited too long before he went to the toilet. And Eddie once hurt his knee. (Sam would insist we fast forward those episodes. )

I like the affirmativeness of the stories. Maisy plays. She works. She spends lots of time with her friends. Doing all sorts of ordinary things like making lemonade or having a bath. I like Lucy Cousin’s illustrations too – so bright and simple . (Apparently Maisy just drew herself one day – which is a great way to come into being.) The videos are very faithful to the books. And the music in the videos – from the wonderful Umbilical Brothers – is great too.

We have already written to Lucy Cousins to say thank you, and she wrote us back a very nice little note. But now our thanks are a matter of semi-public record.







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