________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 17. . . .January 6, 2012

cover

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt.

Karim Alrawi. Illustrated by Bee Willey.
Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Books, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-896580-79-1.

Subject Headings:
Mice-Juvenile fiction.
Egypt-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

The young prince dreamed that the sun god spoke to him:

     I, Amon-Ra, give life to this land,
     Yet my image lies buried deep in the sand.
     Neglected, forgotten, banished from sight,
     I'll make him pharaoh who brings it to light.

When the prince awoke, he realized what the sun god's words meant.

 

In this retelling of an ancient Middle Eastern folktale, a kind prince comes to the aid of a mouse caught in the thorns of a bush. The grateful mouse never forgets the prince's compassion. Years later, the prince becomes a pharaoh, and the mouse overhears a group of men planning a surprise attack. The mouse tells his colony that the "kind man" from his past needs help. Thousands of mice send the marauders fleeing by chewing through the leather of their clothing and weapons. In gratitude, the pharaoh builds a temple to the sun god and includes a statue of a golden mouse to remind the Egyptian people of the power of kindness.

internal art      Bee Willey's sun-drenched illustrations show ancient Egypt in all of its splendor. Hieroglyphics adorn the walls and pillars. The mouse appears on every page, and observant readers can follow the small creature's journey. Everyday Egyptian life both for people and mice is depicted in split scenes. As the pharaoh ruled kindly, "the country prospered and the mice ate well." Tables are laden with watermelons and bowls of sardines, and the mice enjoy seeds and rice.

      Karim Alrawi's storytelling has the straightforward simplicity of an Aesop fable. The messages from the sun god Ra are lyrical written: "Every kind act is a seed sown./Aiding others with their troubles/Reaps help with one's own." Pair this tale with Jerry Pinkney's The Lion and the Mouse for a discussion of how "True greatness is being kind."

Recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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