This story is a modern retelling of a favorite Aesop's fable. Shy Tillie Mouse loves her quiet life in the country. But when her cousin comes for a visit, she wonders if the city is a better place to live. A wild adventure ensues!
Really? Another Aesop re-telling? Yes, and it’s worth every second spent with it. The illustrations are beautiful and memorable. The text is simple, yet informative. Details in the illustrations add to the modern feel of this ancient tale. A modern car nearly runs over the mice. The trucks, a train, the lay out of the street, and even the straight rows of corn are obviously modern.
This would be a great read aloud. The illustrations are richly detailed and lend themselves to actively spotting the lady bug and looking for other sneaky details. In the meantime, the reader is learning to appreciate what they have and that others may want to live differently. Even within a family, not everyone has to want the same things.
Oliver, that city mouse! He thinks he’s so fancy and sophisticated! He thinks his city life is so much better than his cousin Tillie’s simple country living. This is the thanks Tillie gets for being so sweet and inviting him to come visit her. Olivier is about as much fun as a wet blanket and constantly rates his city life better than Tillie’s country life. Seriously, he’s snotty and spoiled and won’t stop yammering on about how great his life in the city is. When Tillie goes back to the city with Oliver to visit, she experiences greater luxuries than she has in the country — but with these luxuries comes greater dangers, too.
You might reasonably think that this book with the sweet image on the front and the title Fine Life For a Country Mouse would be a serene and a quiet bedtime book. You’d be wrong! This retelling of Aesop’s fable had my four-year-old son on the edge of his seat as Tillie mouse encounters cars as big as dinosaurs (at least to her), narrowly being run over by a train, a dog with a gnarly snare, a viscous cat with long, sharp claws, and the vacuum cleaner (of doom). Whew! It’s all a bit much for Tillie. So she decides that even though Oliver’s city life is more luxurious — it isn’t nearly as nice as her bucolic home in the country. She heads home and all is right with her world.
This is a perfect book to read with your children before or after all the holiday visits with cousins and friends. It’s a great book to help shield children (and maybe even ourselves) from the grass-is-greener syndrome they may experience while visiting others and seeing the different things other people have that they may not.
Susan Detwiler does a beautiful job of capturing the spirit of Aesop’s fable. The garbage on the side of the road and the bright red car that zooms by Tillie and Oliver as they head off to the city adeptly sets the tone and reader’s expectations that maybe Oliver’s city life isn’t as great as he claims. It’s very well done. The detailed illustrations also provide many opportunities for children to ask questions and add their own narration.
My son wants you to know that, “The dog is really scary, but not too scary, but be prepared to hide, but you won’t need to when you read it again! Could you read it to me again?” Suffice it to say, it’s a beautifully illustrated and exciting retelling of Aesop’s fable that my whole family loves.