Saturday, August 20, 2005


I hate to admit it, but I'm deadly scared of mice. I can handle insects no problem, even snakes. But mice scare the living daylights out of me in a jump on the chair way.

I've been visiting my parents in California this week. While they were gone over the summer, a family of mice moved into the house and has destroyed the dishwasher (chewed through the cord), is working on the new refrigerator, and has generally wreaked havoc in the kitchen. It's war and so far they're winning.

In honor of mice and their streetsmarts, I'd like to mention two mouse books, new and old.

In Alan MacDonald's Scaredy Mouse (ill. Tim Warnes) the mice are afraid of the big ginger cat. They take a big risk in an attempt to get to some chocolate cake (who wouldn't really?), avoiding the cat in the dangerous trek to the kitchen. When the cat finds them, their journey seems to be over. But, they've outwitted the less talented cat in a funny, silly way. A favorite of the younger set.

My favorite mouse classic is, of course, Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Two Bad Mice. I adored Hunka Munka as a child and I loved how the mice took over the beautiful doll house. Their animation and spunk was clearly superior to the wooden expressions of doll figures. Potter's illustrations are just gorgeous for this book.

It's clear why mice are favorite characters for picture books. But they are not good house guests.