Five Nice Mice

Five Nice Mice by Chisato Tashiro.

Translated from the Japanese, this is a story of five urban mice who hear music in the distance and follow it to a park where they find a chorus of frogs singing.  But the concert is for frogs only, so they are forced to leave and can’t listen any longer.  The mice are all inspired by the music, and build their own instruments.  They practice and practice until they are ready to perform their songs on stage.  During their performance, they glimpse some frogs in the audience and the book culminates with them all up on stage together.

Right from the beginning, readers know that this is not an American book.  There is something a little different about the pacing, illustrations and the story itself.  I love publishers who bring such varied books to the American market, allowing us a glimpse into other societies and their values.  Penguin has done well.

The illustrations are charming and filled with small details and lovely perspectives that are unusual to see in children’s books.  Additionally, the prose is clear and bright, almost allowing the readers to hear the music in the air. 

A lovely translation, this book is recommended for story times on music or mice or frogs. 

Sad News

Siobhan Dowd, author of the incredible A Swift Pure Cry, died on August 21st from breast cancer at age 47.  If you haven’t read her poetic, powerful novel for teens, you really should.  Sad that there won’t be many more books like this coming from her, she had a real gift.