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Mouse and Lion

by Rand Burkert

Book list *Starred Review* In this beautiful Aesop retelling from a mother-and-son team, a tiny grass mouse takes top billing over his larger costar. The graceful, spare prose lends warmth and accessibility to the familiar tale of the brave mouse who trips over a sharp-toothed lion Sire, I took you for a mountain honestly! and has to plead for his freedom. However, it's the artwork that really shines here. Nancy Ekholm Burkert, illustrator of the Caldecott Honor Book Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1972), sets the story in Namibia's Aha Hills, and she traveled to Africa for inspiration. Rendered with extraordinary detail, the softly textured, naturalistic watercolor illustrations are set against against wide, blank backgrounds, which highlight the vastness of the landscape as seen through the eyes of one of its smallest inhabitants. Views of orange sunsets, starry skies, and soft yellow sunrises beautifully capture the movement from night to day and the subtle shifts of light on the land. Also noteworthy are blue-shaded scenes that cleverly illustrate stop-action sequences and the passage of time. The generous trim size and luxuriously thick, cream-colored paper further showcase the artwork, while an endnote illuminates the book-making process. Children (and adults) will pore over the minute details, while simultaneously admiring the grand majesty of each spread in this exquisite offering.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-6-It has been far too long since Nancy Ekholm Burkert's work last graced a children's book-Valentine and Orson (Farrar, 1989)-and it is a pleasure to welcome her back with a book rich with her signature meticulous brush lines, compelling display of color, and carefully delineated detail. Each page offers dramatic delight that extends the story. In an unusual but fascinating variation on the Aesop tale, Rand Burkert places Mouse at center stage-after all, as he explains, "Mouse clearly performs the lion's share of the work." With that hypothesis in place, the tale plays out against the well-known plot of Lion trapped in net/Mouse gnawing him free-with the interplay between the two caught in word and image, both subtle and powerful. At the conclusion, the animals part-each to its own special world but each the wiser and kinder for the experience. The illustrations for this spirited tale are nothing less than spectacular: soft colors (predominately in multiple shades of blue) flow across the page, capturing each eventful moment. Choosing the Aha Hills (between Botswana and Namibia) for her setting, the artist imbues the scenes with the fauna and flora of this region. At times, she incorporates the whole page, using white space to great effect as Mouse cavorts among trailing vines; in another mesmerizing spread a blue/black baobab tree, set against a blazing cinnamon-orange setting sun, captures the moment before Lion's undoing. For storyhours, one-on-one sharing, family read-alouds, or African studies, this book will be appreciated by a wide audiences.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Gr 2-6-Skitter-scampering, deed-bragging, can-do Mouse takes center stage in this rousing rendition of Aesop's well-known fable. Awash with sun-warmed colors and breathtaking natural details, the elegant artwork portrays the delightful dynamic between two characters-one minute and one majestic-who prove to be equals in courage and kindness. (Aug.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In jaunty prose, first-time author Rand Burkert-the illustrator's son-retells Aesop's fable of the mouse who stumbles over a lion ("Sire, I took you for a mountain-honestly!") and pleads for his freedom ("You might need me someday, in a pinch"); the mouse fulfills the prediction by gnawing him free from a hunter's net. "You shall also be free, Mouse!" says the lion. "I grant you liberty to climb every mountain in my kingdom." Caldecott Honoree Nancy Ekholm Burkert's (Snow-White and the Seven Dwarves) exquisitely drafted spreads celebrate the beauty of the African savannah, often from a mouse's-eye view: a graceful blade of grass, a moth's wing, the thorns of the scrubby African shrubs. Moments of drama are sometimes represented in a series of spot illustrations, the present instant in full color, those past or yet to come in pale blue, a lovely way of expressing time on an unmoving page. Creamy paper, a spare layout, and fine typography combine to create an object that reminds readers of the physical pleasures of books; it's a gratifying addition to Nancy Ekholm Burkert's small but treasured oeuvre. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved