Once a Mouse...
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Once a Mouse...

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  1,134 ratings  ·  151 reviews
"No one shall tell me that I was once a mouse!" roars the tiger. But an old hermit, mighty at magic, does tell him; for it was he who first changed the tiger from a wretched little mouse to a stout cat, to a big dog, and finally, to his proud and royal self. Youngest readers will take special delight in seeing these changes take place in Marcia Brown's dramatic picturing o...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 1972 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1961)
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Debbie Reiber

Once A Mouse … by Marcia Brown is a fable or folktale from ancient India. It won The Caldecott Medal in 1962. The age group this book is intended for is nursery to primary. The book is about a hermit that saved a mouse from a crow, and every time another animal came to threaten the mouse, the hermit changed the mouse into a mightier animal until he was the mightiest tiger.
I like the moral of the story and the illustrations fit the story well. I’m not usually fond of the muted colors, but it work...more
I can definitely see why this book would be a Caldecott award winner. Once a Mouse is the story about a hermit who decides to help out a mouse who is getting ready to be attacked. The hermit magically turns the mouse into a cat. Later the cat gets threatened, so the hermit again changes him into something bigger. This continues few times until the mouse is a tiger. The tiger is not only not threatened by other animals, he is very boastful around them. He is also very ungrateful to the hermit for...more
I see how this story is a fable warning against boastfulness and teaching gratefulness. But I immediately focused on the philosophical slant: "One day a hermit sat thinking about big and little--" and then at the end "And the hermit sat thinking about big -- and little..."

Did the hermit come to any conclusions? Did he learn any lessons? This is what I think:
The hermit was sitting around thinking about size and why certain things are smaller and certain things are bigger. "Suddenly, he saw a mou...more
The story of a man who is contemplating big and little, when he sees a mouse almost get eaten by a crow. He saves the mouse, and then to continue protecting it, he keeps changing it into different animals, until it ends up as a tiger. Once the mouse is a tiger, however, he forgets all the good that had been done for him and becomes arrogant. The old man decides to change him back into a mouse again.

One of the things that I liked most about this simple little story, was how each page left you in...more
Melissa McMaster
An old hermit sees a mouse in trouble and turns him into a bigger animal each time it is in danger. This process of the hermit saving this animal occurs again and again until the once little mouse becomes a large fierce tiger. However, the mouse forgets the deeds of the hermit, and he becomes very egotistical and full of himself. The hermit is angered that the tiger shows no appreciation toward him for having saved his life on more than one occasion. Because of this, the hermit turns the tiger b...more
David Korsak
This book starts out with a hermit and a mouse. The hermit adopts the mouse as a pet and feels sorry for it being a mouse, so the hermit transforms the mouse into a cat. The hermit does this two more times from a cat to a dog and a dog to an enormous tiger. The tiger then becomes ungrateful and has forgotten who he really was, a mouse. The tiger became disrespectful of other animals and acted as if every animal was under his control, he even threatened to kill the hermit. The hermit in the end f...more
Illustrated by the author using woodcuts and watercolor. Winner of the 1962 Caldecott Medal. I liked the story and the illustrations but what I really liked was the rhythm created by the illustration and page breaks. It was "natural" how the book was meant to be read. Additionally, the illustrations were quite simple but were able to portray emotion very well.
Sami Wilson
I appreciated that this story was translated into English and that we are able to read this book. An old hermit came across a mouse that was in danger and helped ever time he was in trouble by continually changing him into a larger animal. I personally was not a fan of this story. I was not a fan of the colors that was used throughout the book. They hurt my eyes, but I do think that for the environment that this story takes place the colors match well though. I could not make a personal connecti...more
Adam Donald
The story opens with a magical hermit who wants to save a mouse from being eaten, so the hermit uses his magic and turns the mouse into a cat. Then a dog comes along and tries to eat the cat. Then hermit uses his magic again and turns the cat into a larger dog. A tiger then comes along to eat the dog. Finally the hermit turns the dog into the greatest tiger of all. The great tiger then becomes cocky and threatens to eat all the other animals. The hermit decides the tiger has not learned his less...more
Dec 31, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful tale from India, about being grateful and remembering your humble beginnings in life and those who have helped you along the way. The illustrations are gorgeous woodcuts, with mostly muted tones and a splash of red here and there. Our girls liked the tale, but I'm not sure they took any deep meaning from it.
Karah Webb
Once there was a hermit who sat all ay and thought. This hermit was from India, and he had many special talents and powers. He once saw a little helpless mouse about to be eaten up by a crow, so he generously saved the mouse and took care of him. The hermit then turned the mouse into a cat, so a different cat would not eat it. The hermit turned the mouse into many things to save it's life. This book is about being grateful and appreciative of others. The mouse was turned into a lion, and was not...more
Swear Ahmed
Once a Mouse is an awesome picture book that received a Caldecott Medal (1962). This books is for children ages 4-8.
The magnificent images are made from are made from wood-cuts. I love the different shades of oranges and greens used on each page. I really like the feel that the paintings give story. They make it seem ancient somehow.
This tale originates from an Indian story. It is about a mouse that is helped by a hermit several times. Eventually the mouse is changed into a tiger but then fin...more
Once a Mouse, (a Caldecott Medal Winner) is a fable from ancient India. The story takes place in a dense forest. The main characters are a magical hermit and a mouse. The hermit helps the mouse when it’s in a deadly situation. Through several transformations, the mouse is later elevated to a position of power in the jungle. He becomes prideful and plots to kill the hermit. The hermit changes him back into the lowly status of a mouse to teach him a lesson in humility.

I liked this book because it...more
Jamie Singer
This book is a bout a little mouse who is turned into many different things by a hermit crab. The hermit adopts the mouse as a pet and feels sorry for it being a mouse, so the hermit transforms the mouse into a cat. Then he transforms from cat to a dog and a dog to an enormous tiger. The tiger then became ungrateful and forgot who he really was, a mouse. The tiger became disrespectful of other animals and acted as if every animal was under his control, he even threatened to kill the hermit. The...more
Sam Cooper
this is a story about a magical hermit who takes pitty upon a mouse who is about to be eaten by a

raven. So the hermit uses his magic and turns the mouse into a cat. Then a dog comes along and tries

to eat the cat. Then hermit uses his magic again and turns the cat into a larger dog. A tiger then comes

along to eat the dog. Finally the hermit turns the dog into the greatest tiger of all. The great tiger

then becomes cocky and threatens to eat all the other animals. The hermit decides the tiger has...more
Deanna Vaughn
I liked this book. It has a good moral story in it. However, I do think that some of the wording may be a bit tricky for younger children. The book has good pictures to go along with the story. I am not sure how I like the wording of the book. Almost every page the sentence is chopped of until you turn to the next page. This could be fun for a child though, they might like the suspense of going to the next page for the end of the sentence. I think that this is a good book for a classroom because...more
Nicole Van Iwaarden
This story is of a mouse that was saved by Hermit, who turned the mouse into bigger animals to save it from predators. However, once Hermit turns the mouse into a tiger, the mouse becomes arrogant and ungrateful, which causes Hermit to turn the tiger back into a mouse. Also, the illustrations use color to emphasize mood throughout the story. Overall the story can be used in a classroom because it teaches that no good comes of arrogance and that taking someone who helps you for granted means said...more
The woodcuts for this book are superior to anything else in the medium that I have seen. Considering the quality of Marcia Brown's artwork, I'm really not at all surprised that this book won the 1962 Caldecott Medal.

Once a Mouse...tells the cautionary fable of a tiny, frightened mouse who comes across a philosopher/magician hermit pondering thoughts of big and little, while sitting in the forest. To protect the timid mouse from its natural foes the hermit turns it into a cat, and then proceeds...more
Brown, Marcia. (1961). Once a Mouse... New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Winner of the Caldecott Medal.

This is a "fable cut in wood". It is the story of a hermit who saves a little mouse, then continues to save it from predators by turning into larger and larger animals until it is a tiger and he himself is in danger of becoming the prey. So, he turns the tiger back into a mouse. The story begins and ends with the hermit thinking about big and little.

This book appears in be set in the jungles...more
Marcia Brown's illustrations and text come together to craft an effective retelling of an Indian folktale addressing themes of fear/protection and pride/humility. The woodcuttings and sepia tones used in the illustrations both lend and ancient quality to the story and reflect the calm mind the hermit. Brown uses red as a contrast to draw attention to strong emotions of fear, pride, and anger that arise and create dis-ease. For example, when the mouse-turned-tiger struts pridefully through the ju...more
“Once A Mouse” is an old Indian fable retold by Marcia Brown and it is about how a kind and wise hermit tries to help his mouse friend survive the perils of the forest by transforming it into larger animals each time it is threatened. Since the sentences are broken up on every page, this book may be a bit difficult to read for the smaller children, but is still entertaining to read nonetheless.

Marcia Brown does an excellent job with both writing and illustrating this ancient fable from India. Ma...more
Jessica McIntyre
Once a Mouse is a story about being big and little in life. A hermit discovers a mouse that is being threatened by a cat, so to help the defenseless animal the hermit uses his magic to turn the mouse into a bigger cat. The animal encounters the issue of being too small multiple times and each time the hermit turns the animal into something bigger. In the end the mouse is eventually a tiger, and is too proud for his own good. The hermit then decides to turn the tiger back into a mouse because he...more
Diana V.
Main Characters: Old Hermit and a Mouse
Point of View: Third Person
Setting: Forest
Lexile Level: 530 L (Early Upper Elementary)
Genre: Multicultural
Awards: Caldecott Award

Plot: Marcia Brown retells a claimed Indian fable about a mouse, which is helped by a forest hermit with magical powers, in vigorous style and illustrates it in woodcuts. The Indian hermit magically transforms the mouse into a stout cat, a big dog, and finally a royal tiger. Nonetheless, when the tiger gets too proud and forge...more
Amy Clinton
This story is of a man who saw a little mouse about to be eaten, and fearful of the mouse's fate, tried to save him. The man (or the hermit as he is called) changed the mouse into larger creatures each time his life was in danger. Until, the little mouse was an ungrateful dangerous tiger. The man then changed him back after learning how the little mouse had changed internally as well as externally.

This story teaches that we are the way we are for a reason, we should not change things or wish th...more
Maribeth Tomas
Picture Book Project

Choice Book #2

Source: Caldecott Award Winner in 1962.

The cover alone will entice a reader because you are curious as to why the title is "Once a Mouse..." but a picture of a tiger is on the cover.

The cover of the book isn't very colorful. It only consists of shades of red, green, and white. The way the color was printed on the art almost looks like it was running out of ink because there are streaks in the colors. Throughout the book, there aren't many more colors added excep...more
This tale from India tells the story of a magical hermit who, in order to protect a little mouse from danger, changes it into bigger and bigger animals--first a cat, then a dog, and eventually the mouse is transformed into a tiger. But the tiger is vain and has no respect for the hermit who has saved his life, and so the hermit teaches him a lesson.

A quick read, and one that kids will say teaches us to be thankful for what we have and "don't think you're better than other people".
Elizabeth Kysa Sedivy
This book is about a mouse who was in danger so he was turned into another animal, and then another and another and another. By the end the mouse was a huge tiger and with it his ego became a bit too much. He had changed into a completely different character and was not the same sweet little mouse inside or out anymore. In the book the story teaches a valuable lesson, to be yourself and to be grateful for what is given to you. The graphics help readers to follow the story and get even more invol...more
Courtney Schlenker
"Once a Mouse" by Marcia Brown is a retold story about a man who is sitting in the jungle thinking about his surroundings, and about big and small objects. Suddenly a mouse runs past him and about to be caught by a bigger animal. The man uses his magic to turn the mouse into a cat, then a dog, and finally a large tiger. The animals was not happy or grateful and forgot who he once was. He made threats to kill the man for changing him. The man finally decided to turn the animal back into the mouse...more
Audrey Schuman
An old, wise hermit magically transformed a mouse into a slightly bigger animal every time it was in danger. Eventually, the mouse was faced with so much danger that it turned into a tiger and the hermit told the tiger that he had become too proud of himself. This tale was translated from a tribal story into English. The illustrations were nice and went along with the text but I did not like how the text was laid out. It did not always finish a sentence on one page but continued onto the next pa...more
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Picture Book by Marcia Brown 1 2 Feb 11, 2012 08:31PM  
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Marcia Brown has won the Caldecott Medal three times, the only person to do so until David Wiesner in 2007. She is also the winner of the 1977 Regina Medal, a six-time recipent of the Caldecott Honor, and the winner of the 1992 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for her lifetime body of work in children's literature.

Brown continues to paint in her studio in California, now focusing on Chinese art instead...more
More about Marcia Brown...
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