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The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
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The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  189 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A gorgeously illustrated and poetically written classic, set in a 1930s-era city at Christmastime

Rediscover the tale of the simple country mouse, magically retold by Helen Ward. Beguiled by his cousin’s amazing tales, the country mouse visits the electric city. Unfortunately the town mouse forgot to mention that the city has a lot of noise, tall buildings . . . and dangero
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Templar (first published October 1st 2011)
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Instantly one of my favorite retellings of this fable because the mice aren't wearing cutesy clothes and the illustrations show the sumptuousness of each setting. I do wish it hadn't been set at Christmas; it really restricts the universal nature of the story.
Faith Hough
I thought I would never love a rendition of this story as much as I love Jan Brett's, but... this is amazingly gorgeous and beautifully written. I just want every page framed on my wall.
Brilliant!!! I would say a Caldecott contender, but she is from England. The writing has such a lovely ambiance, the art work is stunning! Loved it!! Marvelous!! A WOW!!
Jan 11, 2013 Deborah added it
Shelves: picturebooks
Beautifully rendered and designed.
Never has there been such a beautiful example of this Aesop Fable. This is the classic tale of the county mouse who is happy in the simplicity of the country until his cousin from the city comes to visit with his claims of the wonders there. The country mouse goes to visit, discovering things like elevators, electric lights, and enormous banquets. But when they are both chased by a city pet, in this case a little dog, the country mouse realizes that while the city is fast-moving and filled with ...more
I read this to my preschool class as a comparison to the version we are studying in our reading unit. My students enjoyed it well enough, and it has a lot to recommend it.

The illustrations were beautiful and I appreciated that the mice were drawn like real mice instead of the cutesy ones wearing clothes that's normally found, however, for my students, it made it harder for them to tell the town mouse from the country mouse. Even though they were different colors, there was nothing about them tha
Before today, my favorite illustrated version of 'The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse' was from Paul Galdone in the new early spring 2012 publication format. While I still love that one, this one is amazing and perfect for including Christmas time in a subtle years past sort of way. This is a large picture book and the illustrations are incredible and present the world from a mouse-eye-view. The first image I saw of the fox, I jolted a little bit - really putting you in the mind and frame of th ...more
Christina Swain
There have been many who have retold this traditional fable tale, but I must say this is one of my favorites. As told, the country mouse goes to visit his cousin, the town mouse. However, the cousin mouse is not prepared for the city living with the loud noises, tall buildings, and the other fast-paced moving of the town. Through this story, students are invited to think beyond the book to the bigger picture, appreciating the similarities and differences that others bring.
Ward's rendition of the story provided atractive and vivid illustrations. The classic tale in this book was enjoyable. As others have mentioned though, it was hard to differentiate the city mouse from the country mouse which made it a little confusing to read & convey to the kids during preschool storytime. The kids had fun pointing out the many pictures and things in it though and enjoyed the book overall and brought about good discussions.
This is a very nice book. I love the story (totally how I feel...I am the country mice...the city is fine...but I want the country life...and all the city people moving into my small town is RUINING my country LIFE! GRR!

I like the pictures...don't love them! But still very good!
Grades 2 and up

Sumptuous illustrations highlight this retelling. The text is fairly simple and straightforward, but readers will pore over Ward's vivid watercolors. When he repays the visit of his more urbane cousin, the country mouse finds himself in an early 20th-century city, where wagons co-exist with electric lights and magical up and down elevators. The Christmas decorations add to the lavishness of the country mouse's new environment, but he discovers he prefers the simplicity and quiet
This retelling of a well-known, timeless story is wonderfully done. This version of the story would make a lovely gift especially due to the beautiful artwork! Gorgeous book...even if I had to look at almost too realistic pictures of mice.
Esther Choi
This is a retelling of the classic folk tale about the town mouse and the country mouse. The two mice are cousins and the one from the town boasts about the city and all the amazing lights. The country mouse goes to his cousins town and finds that it is way too noisy, busy, and scary. The country mouse decides that although the town is exciting, he prefers his quiet, peaceful country home. The illustrations in this retelling is fun. It would be a good book to read aloud and discussing about. The ...more
Michael Moya
I really enjoyed reading this folk tale. First of all, I loved the cover of the book. It immediately jumped off the shelf when I saw it at the library. The story is about two mice who encounter each coming from different places, the country and a town. This story focused on where you from and how you view the attractiveness of other places. The images are rich and pleasing which I liked. The author's illustrations brought out the deep contrasts between rural and city life. I believe this retelli ...more
Jim Erekson
Ward's fine art illustration style draws out the irony of the town mouse's boasts about city life even before the country mouse leaves home. As should be true for Aesop's familiar fables, we see the message coming a mile away but the illustrations provide a fresh look. The virtues of the bucolic are never countered with drawbacks of living in the sticks, however, and the lesson--as they usually do--feels hypocritical.

Lu, the discussion below says this book was ineligible for Caldecott. Is that
Love the illustrations. A wonderful retelling of this story.
I can relate to both mice. :)
Molly Asp
It's been a while since I read this book, but I do remember it having a great theme. The book is about a country mouse going to visit a town mouse and realizing that the town is not the life for the country mouse. Although the two mice are very different in where they live and what they like to do, that doesn't mean one is better than the other. They are just different. This is a great message for children and I would definitely include it in my children's literature collection. It is a very old ...more
This has been lauded for its pictures, delicate watercolors that bring to mind Jerry Pinckney. But at times the perspectives confused me. If they were meant to make me feel the displacement the country mouse feels, well then I suppose they succeeded, But it didn't make me feel comfortable within the story. So for me, despite the beauty of the art, its attention to detail (art deco teapot and elevator casing, berries and grass finely drawn), it didn't work as well as I wanted it to.
Another new book to our collection, this retelling of the classic Aesop's fable has gorgeous pictures. Country Mouse becomes envious of the life Town Mouse describes - one of hustle and bustle and action. He decides to go visit Town Mouse to see what it's all about. While he's there, he experiences some of the fun of the city but also comes to appreciate aspects of his home that he truly misses. We have good discussion afterwards about taking risks and being happy with our choices.
Retold and Illustrated by Helen Ward.

The Country Mouse loves his country home. That all changes when his cousin, Town Mouse comes to visit. There are no wild animals in the city and there are scrumptious dinners to be eaten. The Country Mouse goes for a visit and finds different dangers.

The pictures in this book are excellent. The author uses bright colors and uses great detail. Everything is drawn in a larger scale as a mouse would see the world around him.
The town mouse and the country mouse take a walk in each other's shoes in this beautifully illustrated version of Aesop's fable. Artwork gives readers a mouse-eye view of a city at Christmas and a field of fresh-fallen snow. Each page is absolutely breathtaking. The colors and the imagery give the reader a warm, fuzzy feeling. Great read aloud! Even if you have read every version that exists of this tale, read this version, you will not be disappointed :)
Helen Ward sets her retelling of the Town Mouse and the Country Mouse in 1930s New York City during Christmas. While this is an interesting variation, it is Helen's illustrations that make the book a masterpiece. Exquisite details, interesting mouse-eye views, and vibrant colors can be found on every page. These breath-taking illustrations make Helen Ward's retelling worthy of any child's library.
Maureen E
town mouse country mouseTown Mouse, Country Mouse by Helen Ward: Now, there are a zillion* different editions of this story out there, but Helen Ward’s vivid and detailed illustrations set this one apart. It also focuses on the country mouse, while most versions tell the story from both points of view.

* An approximation
Elaine Bearden
PreS/K - Gr2
Ward has a knack for retelling these tales in spare words. The language choice might bump up the age level to K. Gorgeous illustrations. I love her hare and tortoise story. This one is set in NYC in the 1930s. Published by Templar books, a division of Candlewick Press.
This is a very pretty book, but there were too many instances in which the illustrations didn't seem to match up with the text. The Country Mouse seems to be missing (or too well hidden) in several of the pictures. Not sure why the author made these particular choices.
Ada  Library
Not a new story, but merely a retelling and re-illustrating of a classic. Helen Ward's artwork is a feast for the senses, and so full of color; lavish artwork that leaves you feeling as contented as that adorable country mouse...and also wanting to seek out more of her books!
Not a new story, but merely a retelling and re-illustrating of a classic. Helen Ward's artwork is a feast for the senses, and so full of color; lavish artwork that leaves you feeling as contented as that adorable country mouse...and also wanting to seek out more of her books!
Absolutely gorgeous illustrations. The animals, plants & foods are very realistic looking; I especially thought the little pug dog was cute as a button. Too bad this book is ineligible for a Caldecott Award; maybe it will be selected for a Greenaway Award.
Lu Benke
I must be a country mouse. The city scenes in this lushly illustrated fable overwhelmed me and seemed too busy and cluttered to enjoy. Perhaps that was the idea? Still, with illustrations like this, the overkill detracts from the story and seems a shame.
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Helen Ward won the first Walker Prize for Children’s Illustration and twice won the British National Art Library Award. She has also been short-listed for the 2003 Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in Gloucestershire, England.
More about Helen Ward...
The Tin Forest Varmints The Dragon Machine Unwitting Wisdom: An Anthology of Aesop's Fables The Hare And The Tortoise

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