The Mousewife
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The Mousewife

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  119 ratings  ·  21 reviews

Day in and day out the dutiful mousewife works alongside her mousehusband. The house of Miss Barbara Wilkinson, where the Mouses make their home, is a nice house and the mousewife is for the most part happy with her lot—and yet she yearns for something more. But what? Her husband, for one, can’t imagine. “I think about cheese,” he advises her. “Why don’t you think about ch

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Published (first published 1951)
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Natalie
Dec 05, 2009 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Natalie by: NEH Classics list
The mousewife is a dutiful homemaker, who tends to her family, but finds herself longing for something more. When the boy of the house captures a turtledove, and the woman of the house keeps it in a cave, she encounters something from the wild world outside the house. At first the dove will not acknowledge her, but soon looks forward to the visits from the little mouse. The dove talks about the beauty of the outside world, the joy of flying, and the way the world looks from high in the sky. The...more
Caren
I absolutely love the New York Review Children's Collection, which is in the process of reissuing out-of-print children's classics. "The Mousewife" is one of their reissues. First of all, Rumer Godden is just a wonderful author. (When I was a child, I was enthralled by her "Miss Happiness and Miss Flower".)"Mousewife" is a simple little story, but with sophisticated emotional undertones. The little mousewife is quite ordinary, except that she longs for something more, something even she cannot a...more
Natalie
Do you ever feel like life goes around in a loop (feed people, drive to work, work, drive home, feed people, sleep, repeat) and sometimes feel compelled to stop and deliberately create something outside of your day-to-day activities? Ever so often I do, so I can relate to the mousewife who, "...did no know what it was that she wanted, but she wanted more."

Her wanting doesn't interfere with her life like it did for Madame Bovary. She expands her small universe and is able to continue to care for...more
J
"Why do you spend so much time on the window sill?" asked her husband. "I do not like it. The proper place for a mousewife is in her hole or coming out for crumbs and frolic with me."

The mousewife did not answer. She looked far away.
I got this from OhioLINK, then put off reading it for almost three months because I had a feeling it would make me cry. I was right! Oh god, was I right.

Please don't let that stop you from reading The Mousewife, though. It's an amazing book, one of those children's b...more
Londa
Such a sweet book, and I truly enjoyed it. I was browsing around goodreads, read the description of this book and had to get my hands on it. The mousewife in this book is dutiful and kind but repressed by her husband who does not understand her. Her curiosity is met with harsh words and actions, but she is brave enough to act on it anyway to learn a little about the world around her and to eventually help a friend in need. The writing is gentle and though the words are not complicated, they conv...more
Ellice
Just a lovely little children's story about freedom, and how a house mouse sparks a more satisfying life through her friendship with a captive dove. The illustrations by William Pène du Bois are wonderful in every way--I just finished reading it and I already want to go back and look at them all again. Highly recommended.
Jaime
"A cage would never do for one made to fly...", truer words have never been written! What a fantastic story about unforeseen friendship and bittersweet affection. The story is about a house-bound mouse who unexpectedly meets a caged dove. The mousewife is bored with her everyday routine caring for her mousehusband and has an appetite that cheese could never satisfy. She meets a dove who was captured and trapped. The dove's tales fill the mousewife with wonder and she is fascinated immediately. S...more
Brennan Wieland
This was about a mousewife who is fed up with her life, doing the same things over and over again. She feels in her heart that there is something more out there and she's determined to find out. One day a dove is captured and put into a cage inside the house. The mouse develops a relationship with the bird and the bird tells her all about the outside world. One night the window is left open next to the birds cage and the mouse helps the bird to escape. After this the mousewife returns home and t...more
Marissa Garcia
"I can see for myself," said the mousewife, and slowly, proudly, she walked back to bed.

Rumer Godden is one of my all-time favorite authors, period. She is not well known anymore, to my knowledge. Her books are now vintage and hard to come by. But I found them in my public library as a child, and her fascinating power to give voice to the voiceless makes magic. She usually gives this voice to dolls, but in this elegant, tender little story, she gives it to a little mousewife whose unremarkable l...more
Nevada Libert
this was a good book, about bravery and how she wanted to find out things in the world.
Joseph Wetterling
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
I found this in a second-hand bookstore in London and literally felt like it was calling out to me. I read it in the middle of a London park, while my husband snoozed next to me on the grass. Perhaps it was the setting, but I absolutely adored the story and really related to it. Here is to all the mousewives who know what it is to fly!
Kevin
Picked up a nice The New York Review Children's Collection version of this classic tale at a library sale of a fifty cents. It is a melancholy little story of friendship. Spare but evocative. The illustrations, and overall design, add to the enjoyment.
Elizabeth
A cute story about a mouse who becomes friends with a dove that is captured and kept in a cage in the house she lives in. It's a very simple story but still fun, and the black and white drawings are adorable.
Faith Hough
Not exactly a picture book (although it's set up as one) or a MG book--although the language was simple, it seemed more like a fable for adults. But Rumer Godden's writing is just amazing.
Magda
Reminds me of A Mouse to be Free from when I was little.
Carrie
So far, the only Rumer Godden book I've actually enjoyed from beginning to end. (Usually I enjoy about the first 7/8ths of one of her books.)
Kat Devaney
The writing is simple and charming, and this book with its careful illustrations holds a dear place in my heart.
Aliza
One of the best children's books I've ever read. So multi-layered, it reads like an adult novel, too!
Megan D. Neal
An allegory for repressed womanhood. It's a quick read, well-written, but ultimately disappointing (for me).
Linden
Small fable about mouse setting caged bird free. NYRB Children's Classics.
Abby
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She was born in Sussex, England, but grew up in India, in Narayanganj. Many of her 60 books are set in India. Black Narcissus was made into a famous movie with Deborah Kerr in 1947.

Godden wrote novels, poetry, plays, biographies, and books for children.

For more information, see the official website: Rumer Godden
More about Rumer Godden...
The Story of Holly and Ivy In This House of Brede The Dolls' House The Greengage Summer Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

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