Mouse & Lion

Rand Burkert, Retold by, Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Illustrator
Rand Burkert, illus. by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. Scholastic/di Capua, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-10147-9
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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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.)
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