cover image The Complete Story of the Three Blind Mice

The Complete Story of the Three Blind Mice

John W. Ivimey. Joy Street Books, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-13867-3

Ivimey's 1904 ``unexpurgated'' version of the classic rhyme tells how the three rodents of Mother Goose fame got into their terrible predicament in the first place, and how they recovered with the help of a friendly chemist. Chess's ( Slugs ; Tommy at the Grocery Store ; Princess Gorilla and a New Kind of Water ) pictures are, by turns, hair-raising, touching and downright side-splitting. They abound with zany details--prominent in the (mouse) farmer's kitchen is a ``Beware'' poster of a grim, tank-topped feline; the jars at the apothecary shop contain ``Toad Flax'' and ``Cream of Amnesia.'' Although the story has a happy ending, the illustrations make it clear that these mice are wiser because of their run-in with the farmer's wife. Three Blind Mice strikes a perfect, three-way balance between the macabre, the slapstick and the sentimental--thanks to Chess's exceptional art. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)