Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The King, the Mice and the Cheese

The King, the Mice and the Cheese
Nancy &
Eric Gurney ~ Random House, 1965

In retrospect, I have no idea why I used to obsess over this title in the school library. It's not that the illustrations are particularly special... in some kind of broad generalization/sexist way, they are probably better suited for boys. And still, I used to take it from the shelf over and over again and read about the king with the mouse problem with such rapt attention to detail, that it shocked me how much of the story I remembered when I became reacquainted with it through my son. (Whew, that was a mouthful!)

Now, despite my better (and snootier) judgement, here it is, in all its primary color glory. Soooo, there's this king, see. And he loves cheese, and we all know who else likes cheese. When his kingdom becomes infested with the little critters, he calls on his wise men to find a solution.

"How can I get rid of these mice?" he asked them.
The wise men thought of a wonderful idea.
The wise men brought in cats...
big cats, little cats,
fat cats and thin cats.
The mice-chasing cats did a very good job.
Soon all of the mice
were gone from the palace.


But then of course, the king finds himself with a cat problem... and when the dogs are brought in, well, you can see how the story progresses from there. That is until the kingdom becomes overrun with elephants, and guess who gets hauled in to do the scatting? Ha! Maybe it was the fact that the book is so tickling and the good guys win and small guys can outsmart big guys, who knows? I do know that my boy is just an enamored with the king and his mice. It must be something in the cheese, I guess.

9 comments:

Jenny said...

This is one of my all time favorites as well. My children love it too!

scribbler said...

another girl after my own heart... awesome!

Sandy D. said...

I think the fact that the mice are everywhere (like the king's beard), the elephants are pushing over the walls while they scratch their butts, etc. that make this appealing. The illustrations have lots of little clevernesses in them. :-)

Loralynn said...

Lora said...
I was born in 63, always remembered this book fondly, yet never found it for my now grown kids...I would like to purchase it for my grandkids ages 2,3, & 7.Wonderful!

meaculpa said...

I was born in 1962 and remember this book from when I was learning to read. I couldn't remember the title or even the story line. All I could remember was the phrase "cat-chasing dog." It thoroughly confused me - I was unable to parse "cat-chasing" as an adjective for the dog. I thought it was saying that the cat was chasing the dog - which didn't match the images or my conception of the usual interaction between cats and dogs. Now that I've found it again, the story line comes back to me, but what kept it in my head all these years was that mental stumbling block.

Anonymous said...

I was born in 1961 and I'm German. I got this book from my Canadian relatives when I was about 5 or 6. It was my first book in english, but it was easy enough to understand. And I learned my first english words from his story. I still have fond memories of the story and the illustrations and I would still recomend it as a very nice childrens book.

Anonymous said...

I was also born in 1961 and this was my favorite childhood book and the one that taught me to read. I spoke to the Librarian in the children's library at Johns Hopkins Hospital and she looked it up for me. I was actually amazed that I remembered enough of the title that she could find it. I haven't purchased one yet, but I will!

Mick said...

Thank You for posting this. I too read this as a child and loved it.

Have been trying to find it for years.

Now my mind can relax:)

Anonymous said...

It's also a very good introduction to some of the key concepts of ecology.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...