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The Mousewife

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  169 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Day in and day out the dutiful mousewife works alongside her mousehusband in the house of Miss Barbara Wilkinson. It is a nice house and the mousewife is for the most part happy collecting crumbs and preparing a nest for her future mouse-babies—yet she yearns for something more. But what? Her husband, for one, can’t imagine. “I think about cheese,” he advises her. “Why don ...more
Hardcover, 56 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by NYR Children's Collection (first published 1951)
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Nov 30, 2009 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 12, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
An all-ages fable that I adored when I was a child. Glad to find I still respect and am moved by it. I love the bits of humor in this short story which is already rich in both melancholy and joy. Of course I also love the illustrations: Godden and du Bois are both great. Anybody who cages a wild animal after seeing the picture of the dove trying to show the mousewife what it means to fly (p. 22 this edition) has no soul.

I recommend you read this aloud to your family or pets early this coming sp
Nov 09, 2010 Caren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
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
Nov 10, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it
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
May 17, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
RH Walters
Aug 17, 2016 RH Walters rated it it was amazing
Thoughtful and well-illustrated, I was happy when Freddie brought this title over to me. We sat down and read it, and although she wandered away to play before we finished, I enjoyed the conclusion of the story. Kind of a Bridges of Madison County for rodents.
Mar 25, 2015 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
This is beautiful, gentle tale will tug at your heartstrings. The story was inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth's (an English poet and diarist). It is a story composed for her brother William. An ordinary little mouse has seeds of wonder and dreams planted deep in her heart and she always in her mind reaches beyond the everyday, mundane rhyme of her life knowing there is much more beyond her mouse dreary mouse hole.

"She looked the same; she had the same ears and prick nose and whiskers and dewdrop e
May 08, 2016 Liva-Katrina rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, nyrb
"It has be given to few mice to see the stars (...)."
* * *

A fable of unrealized dreams and love.
Although the book is charming and does what any good (children's) book should do--namely, moves us because we recognize some universal patterns of our own lives; moves us because we are able to identify. The choice of two principal characters, one exotic (a turtledove) and the other quite not so much (a mouse), goes well with the storyline. All the ingredients of a great book are there, and yet...
Mar 07, 2013 Londa rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2015 Joshie rated it liked it
Recommended to Joshie by: My Boss
Shelves: 3-star, own, childrens
This book was given to me by my boss yesterday and I only got around to reading it today.

The Mousewife is a very short children's story about a mousewife who was different from all the mice. Though she looked the same and did the same thing as the other mice, there was this part inside her which was quite not very mouse. She did not think of cheese and often, she looked outside the window, standing on the sill, recognizing how wide and big the world around her was. She wondered what lied beyond
Eleanor Toland
Though it's published by The New York Review Children's Collection, The Mousewife feels far more like a fable for adults than a children's fantasy. The slim volume contains child-unfriendly material such as allegorical adultery and real domestic violence. More importantly, the story contains powerful undercurrents of melancholy, ennui and sensucht, emotions associated with age and regret.

At surface value, The Mousewife is a very simple, very powerful story. A female mouse finds her life unfulfi
Apr 10, 2012 Jaime rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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 García
Jan 10, 2013 Marissa García rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Joseph Wetterling
May 02, 2013 Joseph Wetterling rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
Jennifer Heise
Dated but engaging little story about a mouse housewife who would like to see bigger things, but in the end rescues an imprisoned wild bird, who takes her on a short flight to see the larger world. (view spoiler)
Oct 25, 2014 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a lovely story this is. I picked it up on the strength of the cover illustration, and oh, how glad I am that I did so. On the face of it, it's about a mouse who befriends a caged dove- but there are layers upon layers here, about one's role in life, and what's important. I adored it.
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.
Jul 27, 2013 Kevin rated it liked it
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.
Faith Hough
Oct 05, 2013 Faith Hough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 27, 2010 Aliza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best children's books I've ever read. So multi-layered, it reads like an adult novel, too!
Jul 22, 2009 Magda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Reminds me of A Mouse to be Free from when I was little.
Inhabiting Books
Oct 10, 2011 Inhabiting Books added it
Shelves: 2011
An allegory for repressed womanhood. It's a quick read, well-written, but ultimately disappointing (for me).
Apr 20, 2009 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.)
May 20, 2016 ELIZABETH-ANNE rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delighful book. Sometimes I find a children's book that I like more than I would have 50 years ago, and this one is a prime example.
Kat Devaney
Oct 09, 2012 Kat Devaney rated it really liked it
The writing is simple and charming, and this book with its careful illustrations holds a dear place in my heart.
Emily rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2010
Anne rated it liked it
Sep 18, 2015
Margaret rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2017
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Margaret Rumer Godden was born in Sussex, 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...

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