Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alexander and the Magic Mouse

The boy and I left my husband at home and fled to Virginia to visit my mother. My Internet access has been almost nonexistent, and I soooo wanted to try and get some of the guest posts I have accumulated up. Like this one from reader, Julie. She's forty and fabulous and lives in Paris where she's a photographer and a mum. You can read Julie's blog here. Welcome her and have a great one all! I'll be back with a vengeance on Monday...

Alexander and the Magic Mouse
Martha Sanders ~ Philippe Fix
American Heritage Press, 1969, by


I come from a family of true bookworms. My mum was kind of into that business, and my parents bought many many books for me, my brother and my sister. They taught us to take extremely great care of them, and in turn, we read a lot when we were kids. Every year around November, we would receive from a colleague of my mum what you called then in France a "Bon Libraire". It's a paper with a stamp of a bookshop, proving you sell books, so you can go to the SFL (La Société Française du Livre) to buy books at a discounted price. It's a kind of wholesaler where you can buy any amount of any book. All the French booksellers shop there or order their books from there.

For us, it was paradise. Imagine a huge old warehouse in the center of Paris loaded with many stairs and basement floors, with piles and piles of books and shelves everywhere, organized by editors and themes. You could very easily get lost there. As soon as my mum would find the Bon Libraire in the mailbox, we would get excited. We'd spend half a day there, the five of us, cause my dad is a great reader too. We weren't really owners of a bookshop or anything, so it was a nice thing for this friend of my mum to do for us. We new the invitations would stop at anytime, so we really cherished it.

The best thing is that we could spend so much time just reading there. They had more books than the library or any big shop you can think of. And the best of it is that my folks each time said, no limit. You can buy AS MANY books as you want. We had carts filled with books, like at the supermarket, and that lasted for years. We were so lucky!

So, now that I am a mum myself, I spend a lot on books. I go to normal bookshops, but also garage sales, flea markets, and often I track down books on Amazon that I cherished as a child, for my own kids. Like this one, Alexander and the Magic Mouse.

The book tells the extraordinary story of an old friendly woman living in a house on a hill with her animal friends; a cat, a magical mouse, an alligator from China, and a yak. At the foot of the hill, there is a river and a town. One afternoon the tiny mouse has a vision and sees that it is going to rain for thirty days and thirty nights.

The books tells the long, delightful and very poetic story of this storm. Philippe Fix's drawing are extremely dreamy, beautiful, and all the characters of the album are very attaching. We read the books a million times when we were kids, and my three children enjoy it very much, too. It was a very special moment when I found it online, and I was very moved when it arrived home and when I translated it to the kids. My parents still have our original French copy at the seaside, and, of course, it's still intact!



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14 comments:

Meghan said...

b...i have been having withdrawals. so glad you will be back on monday. hope you are having fun in va.

julie...what a magical childhood you must have had. lucky indeed!

Jil Casey said...

What a lovely book - great illustrations!

julie said...

hi meghan and jill
yes we were lucky ! I have very generous parents. and when you love reading you keep the habit forever, and that's cool... xxx julie

Kimberly said...

Julie, the discount book shopping outings of your youth sound fantastic! I was so persuaded by your review that I immediately ordered a used copy for us to have here at home. As I was looking for a used copy online, I read any number of reviews of Alexander and the Magic Mouse in which people remember this book fondly as a childhood favorite. I can't wait to get it in the mail!

B, I hope you've enjoyed your trip and am eager to read additional reviews you have in store for us.

veerle said...

I found this book at a thrift store about a year ago for $1 and love it! It is indeed a beautiful story and the pictures a great!

Anonymous said...

I had this book as a kid, too. What a delight to be reminded of it!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book as a child! When I had my own children I wanted so badly to find this book but couldn't remember the full name of it. Fate led me to it just today in the midst of planning my daughter's 11th bday. An old book store near the place we were having her party allowed me to search for the book with just the keyword Alexander. There it was. I had no idea how happy it would make me to see it again. I was moved to tears. I will save this one always.

Sheryl said...

I just found your blog because I was searching for Aliki and "That's Good, That's Bad". I now find this book, which I loved and owned (and still own) and my kids loved it, too!

Jenn "Rook No. 17" said...

I was so excited to find a copy of this book on my school library's discard stack today. It's coming home with me and I can't wait to share it with my girls!

So great to read about the book here!

Jenn

julie said...

it's so nice to see all these people loving this book so dearly. B, I hope I can make a new guest post here soon ! xxx julie

B. Streetman said...

any time!

Gail Mitchell said...

I am 50 and still have my copy from childhood, and just today I was thinking of the "castle" in the rain and what a great Halloween image that would be. I ran home to grab the book and now am in a tizzy searching my memory on where I put it. :( Not lost, just misplaced...I hope!

Gail Mitchell said...

I am 50 and I still have my copy from childhood, and just today was thinking what a great Halloween image the "castle" in the rain would be so I ran home to grab it but it isn't in my bookcase. I am in a tizzy now searching my memory as to where I last put it...it is misplaced not lost..I hope!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book as a child and recently ran across an illustrator selling books at an art fair. His illustrations were so rich I commented that they reminded me of a book about an alligator I read as a kid. Turns out this was his inspiration as a kid to be an illustrator. Thanks for posting, this book has touched many.

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