cover image The Mouse Who Saved Egypt

The Mouse Who Saved Egypt

Karim Alrawi, illus. by Bee Wiley. Interlink/Crocodile, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56656-856-2

Alrawi’s (The Girl Who Lost Her Smile) story carries the same do-unto-others message as Aesop’s “The Lion and the Mouse.” Instead of a lion, a prince initially saves a mouse, disentangling it from a thornbush. “True greatness is being kind,” the mouse tells the prince as he runs off, “and true kindness is never forgotten.” Wiley (The Jesse Tree) creates a desert atmosphere by placing friendly, soulful-eyed characters against digitally manipulated backdrops of hieroglyphics, palms, and sand dunes, all lit with an eerie, gauzy glow. The prince is made pharaoh, and an army threatens the country; in repayment for the prince’s good deed, the mouse persuades his fellow mice to sabotage the enemy army’s equipment. The mice “chewed through the leather of their bows, their saddles and the straps of their shields. In the morning, the mountain men could not tie their sandals, and their clothes fell off.” The image of small creatures defeating the powerful is always gratifying, as is the book’s thoughtful portrayal of Egyptian cultural themes. Ages 3–8. (Oct.)