Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Lion & the Mouse

The Lion & the Mouse

Jerry Pinkney
Picture Book
For all ages
Little Brown, 2009   ISBN: 978-0316013567

One morning a mouse, who is very distracted, accidentally runs up the back of a sleeping lion. Needless to say, the lion is not pleased. He could easily eat the little mouse that sits quivering in his paw. Instead, the lion, in an act of compassion, lets the little mouse go.

Then one day, some hunters set out a trap, which the lion walks right into. Though he is the king of the savannah, the lion cannot free himself from the hunter’s rope net. He is well and truly caught. The little mouse hears the lion’s roar, and she quickly runs to where the lion hangs from a tree, trussed up in the rope net. Though she is just a very little mouse, there is something that she can do to help the great lion, and she gets to work.

This beautiful retelling of one of Aesop’s most beloved tales will delight readers of all ages. The only words in the book are sound words; squeaks and roars, the hoots of an owl, and the “Putt-Putt-Putt,” of a car engine. Jerry Pinkney perfectly captures the essence of the fable with his gorgeous paintings, which are rich with the golden colors of an African grassland. Readers will have no trouble seeing that this story not only looks at the gift of compassion, but it also highlights the fact that even the smallest and weakest individuals have something valuable to give. The “meek” can truly have something to offer the “mighty.”