Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Mouse Called Wolf

A Mouse Called Wolf

Dick King-Smith
Illustrator:  Jon Goodell 
For ages 8 to 10
Random House, 1999   ISBN: 978-0375800665

When Mary the mouse gives birth to thirteen babies, she decides to give the smallest one a special name. Somehow she knows that this pup is going to be different, and he needs a long name, perhaps even two long names. By chance she uses a sheet of music to make her nest and she sees a name written on the paper that sounds perfect, which is how her littlest child ends up being called Wolfgang Amadeus, or Wolf for short.

   Unlike all his brothers and sisters, Wolf stays with his mother, living behind the molding in an old lady’s sitting room. The hole is right next to the leg of the lady’s grand piano, and Wolf starts listening to the pieces and songs that the old lady plays on the piano twice a day. Soon he begins to learn the songs and he wishes that he could sing, but he knows all too well that mice cannot sing. All they can do is squeak.

   Then one day Wolf decides to try singing and he discovers the most extraordinary thing; he finds out that he, Wolf, can sing. In fact, he can sing beautifully. One day, purely by chance, the old lady, Mrs. Honeybee, hears Wolf sing and she can hardly believe her ears. Surely mice cannot sing, and yet here is a mouse singing, and singing like an angel. She never imagines that Wolf, and his beautiful voice, is going to become very important to her.

   This charming, gently funny book was written by the author who brought us Babe: The Gallant Pig. Readers will quickly fall in love with Wolf and his human admirer, and it is hard not to laugh when we see how the Wolf, who cannot speak human, and Mrs. Honeybee, who cannot speak mouse, somehow manage to understand one another. It probably helps that music is truly an international language. No dictionary or translator is required to understand it.