Squeaking of mice, I’m simply head over tails in love with THE TINY MOUSE (Lemniscaat, 2013), veteran singer-songwriter Janis Ian’s jaunty, whimsical song-turned-picture book masterfully illustrated by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert.
Janis’s rollicking tale of adventure on the high seas is packed with whisker twitching, nose itching suspense, salty humor, and many a well-turned phrase set to a catchy tune that’ll have readers of all ages joyfully singing along in seconds flat.
There was a tiny mouse
who lived in a tiny house
full of drafts and doubts, and incredible things
But this dapper little fellow soon grows bored with the high life, so decides one day to go to sea so he can drink grog and sniff “occasional snuff.”
No sooner does he stow aboard than he gets seasick. After stumbling upon the Captain’s bathroom, he’s horrified to discover the Captain is a cat, who like many a fine feline, loves to snack on mousies.
Not wanting to end up as anyone’s fancy feast, our intrepid hero engineers a narrow escape via flounder sail and rudder, and then swims like the dickens for his life. Once safely on land, he marries a mouseketeer and soon fathers a boatload of children, whom he happily ever after regales with tasty tales of his aquatic adventures.
The Schuberts brilliantly portray this roguish rodent turned maritime mouse in all his nautical nattiness. From the tips of his curlicued whiskers to the tippy tip of his curlicued tail, he cuts a fine figure in his coattails, spats and cool specs.
A luscious jeweled toned palette, along with a raft of comely, surrealistic details (cat head jack-in-the-box, mercat on the ship’s prow, adorable mousie towel hooks, teensy milk bottles) will fascinate little landlubbers as they listen to the song. Naturally, I am particularly fond of the tiny mouse’s golden soup bowl and silver spoon, his checked apron and the wee wooden spoon he wields while telling his stories.
With morals like, “Always think before you sail” and “Always know what’s in the bowl before you eat,” this grass-is-always greener soup of the day is served up at precisely the right temperature.
Here, taste for yourself:
* * *
I’ve been a Janis fan since the 60’s, but this is the first time I’ve seen her light-hearted, playful, cuddly side. This video of outtakes, where she’s trying to teach her dog Gracie Mae how to read, is just adorable. How can you not love this white-haired, 4’9″ creative genius wearing sushi pajamas?
* * *
Janis originally wrote The Tiny Mouse for The Boat Project, a collaborative endeavor where people donated pieces of wood that were collaged into the sides of a 30-foot vessel. The artifacts and the stories that went with them are a living archive that was part of the 2012 London Olympics. Janis’s song was inspired by a wooden mouse that still sits atop the boat’s wheel.
* * *
THE TINY MOUSE
written by Janis Ian
illustrated by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
published by Lemniscaat, 2013
Picture Book for all ages
*Includes CD with three versions (vocal with guitar, vocal with band, instrumental for sing-along), sheet music with full lyrics
*Received **Starred Reviews** from Kirkus and School Library Journal, and was named a 2013 Kirkus Children’s Book of the Year.
♥ Visit The Tiny Mouse Website for videos, sheet music, free MP3’s, a free poster, and 2 charming interviews with the Tiny Mouse himself conducted by journalist Janis Ian.
♥ Click here for The Tiny Mouse Facebook Page
* * *
The beautiful and talented Robyn Hood Black is hosting this week’s Roundup at Life on the Deckle Edge. I’m sure she’d enjoy your serenading her with “The Tiny Mouse,” especially if you offer her a strawberry mouse and a piece of cheese. Check out today’s full Poetic Menu, and I wish you smooth sailing and happy whisker twitching as you enjoy all the tasty offerings being served up in the blogosphere.
*Spreads from The Tiny Mouse posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2013 Janis Ian, illustrations © 2013 Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, published by Lemniscaat. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.