Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

Torsten Kuhlmann, Author, Torben Kuhlmann, Author, Suzanne Levesque, Translator
Torben Kuhlmann, trans. from the German by Suzanne Levesque. NorthSouth (Ingram, dist.), $19.95 (96p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4167-3
Reviewed on: 02/24/2014
Release date: 05/01/2014
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In a project that seamlessly blends elements of a picture book, comic, and novel, gifted newcomer Kuhlmann imagines that the world’s first transatlantic flight was made not by Charles Lindbergh, but by an intrepid German mouse flying in the opposite direction, starting from Hamburg. Driven to desperation by the deaths of many of his compatriots in newly invented mousetraps, the mouse decides to head for America: “A huge statue greeted all who arrive there, whether human or mouse.” Squads of guardian cats rule out ship journeys, and the mouse begins experimenting with flying machines. Kuhlmann makes every detail of the mouse’s endeavor look and sound delightfully plausible, from his da Vinci–like working sketches to his plan to hoist his plane to the top of a tower by attaching it to the gears of the tower’s clock. The fragility of his machine and the owls that watch him like sentinels at every step give the story constant tension: the owls’ golden eyes are painted with eerie menace. It’s all terrific entertainment, and the fame Kuhlmann imagines for the mouse when he finally succeeds (“The Transatlantic Rodent Hero” trumpets a billboard) inspires a future famous aviator—or so Kuhlmann claims. An exceptionally fine debut. Ages 4–up. (May)
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