Saturday, April 21, 2018

[BOOK REVIEW] Once a Marcia Brown

Title:  Once a Mouse...

Author:  Marcia Brown

Genre:  Children's / India / Animals / Gratitude / Folktale

Year Published: 1961

Year Read:  1997 (Re Read: 2018)

Charles Scribner's Sons

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Some Intense Situations)

Buy on:  Amazon  //  Book Depository 

Revised Review (For Reread):

*Original Rating: 4 stars*
*Rating Now: 5 stars*

Now, I had read Marcia Brown’s retelling of the ancient Indian folktale “Once a Mouse…” many years ago and I had actually written a review for it years ago (some of my thoughts in the original review will be restated in this all new review)!  So, I decided to read this book again after all of these years to see if I still felt the same way I did years ago and surprisingly enough, I found out that I liked this book better the second time around than I did the first time (which is so awesome)!

The story started off with a wise old hermit thinking about big and little, when suddenly, he sees a mouse being chased by a crow and he ends up saving the mouse from the crow.  From then on, the hermit started taking care of the mouse until a cat came into the clearing and was about to eat the mouse until the hermit changed the mouse into an even bigger cat. Afterwards, the mouse kept getting threatened with a bigger animal until the hermit finally transformed the mouse into a tiger and the tiger, who was once a mouse, starts taking advantage of its huge size.

What will the hermit do with the tiger now?

Read this book to find out!

Marcia Brown had done an excellent job with both writing and illustrating this ancient tale from India.  I loved the way that Marcia Brown made this story so dramatic, especially since I was sitting on the edge of my seat trying to see if the mouse will survive in the forest with all of the dangers such as a cat, a dog and a tiger, threatening it.  I also loved the fact that Marcia Brown tackled the importance of being grateful to the people who helped you as it provides a great lesson for children to learn about being thankful to the people who have helped them out of a dangerous or complicated situation.  Marcia Brown’s illustrations are creative and rough-edged as the characters have jagged limbs and the coloring that is the most prevalent in this book are red, black, white and brown which creates a traditional atmosphere to this story.

The only problem I had with this book was that the narrative was a bit of a struggle to get through because the sentences were broken up, meaning that one half of the sentence would be on one page and the other half of the sentence continues onto the next page.  This can be extremely confusing for smaller children who are reading this book and parents might want to help their children read through this book to help their children understand the book much better.

Overall, “Once a Mouse” is a truly wonderful tale about how it is important to show gratitude towards someone who has helped you get out of a sticky situation, or in this case, four sticky situations!  This book will surely become a great classic for children who are interested in Indian culture.  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the sentence structure might be a bit too difficult for smaller children to read through.

* 1962 Caldecott Medal
* 1966 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

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