Once a Mouse - Marcia Brown (1961)

        Caldecott Winner - 1962
         When self-confidence crosses the line and becomes boasting, there is always a lesson to be learnt. Based on an ancient Indian fable, this story is about a 'small' mouse becoming a 'big' powerful tiger and starts boasting about his powers.

Small to Big

           A hermit is thinking about 'big and little' (Is it about the physical sizes or thoughts? Who knows what is inside a hermit's mind?). At that time, he sees a mouse, who is being preyed upon by a crow. To save the mouse, he transforms it into a cat, with his magical powers. Again when the cat is about to be snatched by a dog, he changes it into a bigger dog. This series repeats until he finally makes the mouse, a tiger.

              Being a tiger, the mouse takes pride and he steps out of his humble zone. He is not going to stop, until he learns a lesson for boasting and being ungrateful.

Publisher : Scribner - First Ed.

Number Of Pages : 32

Classification : Moral, Fable

Age : Preschooler, Kindergartener, Grades 1-3

ISBN 10 : 0684126621 (1992 Ed. by Atheneum)

My Comment:

           There is a whole set of reasons why my kids would love this book. First of all, the recurring version of storytelling is always enjoyed by my kids (Of course, there are Caldecott winning illustrations in this book but this comes first in my kids' list). The sequence of mouse changing into a cat, a cat into a dog and so on is sure build the eagerness of children.

             The woodcut illustrations by the author add marvelous details to the book. The cover image where the tiger sees its reflection is fabulous and is just a sample for the illustrations waiting inside the book. (Should I even talk about the illustrations, when this book is a Caldecott Winner?)

              The way, how, the theory of big and small, thought by the hermit, is embedded into the story is beautiful.The story could be enjoyed by kids of all ages, but the bigger kids can extract the moral values. (There is a simple moral for boasting and there is a understanding of diversified 'big' and 'small' things).The narration is simple and flowing. Every kid would love this time-honored story and remember.

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