Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mr. Maxwell's Mouse by Frank Asch and Devin Asch

Today I spent some happy hours book shopping.  As I walked through one very large shop this book caught my eye - the mouse on the plate, the expression on the face of the cat and above all the author - the wonderful Frank Asch.  I knew at once Devin must be his son and after reading the first page I knew this book would be perfect.

I have been collecting books for a senior class on the theme of power - power in relationships, use of power, feeling powerless and so on.  This week we enjoyed discussing Extra Yarn and now I will add Mr. Maxwell's mouse to my list.

Mr. Maxwell dines each day at the delicious sounding Paw and Claw Restaurant.  On this day he decides to partake of a mixed green salad followed by raw mouse.

"Excellent choice, sir, Would you like us to kill it for you?' asked Clyde.  'That won't be necessary,' said Mr. Maxwell ... just make sure it is fresh and healthy."

The meal arrives - a mouse stretched out on a single piece of rye toast as if sunning itself on a sandy beach.  Our canny mouse engages Mr. Maxwell in conversation.  Asking for salt, suggesting the type of wine as an accompaniment and even asking Mr. Maxwell to say grace before - well before the deed.  Mr. Maxwell is not a religious man so the mouse kneels down and prays ending with the perfect word 'Amice!'

If you are looking for another book on the theme of persuasion this one is perfect and it also has such a delicious vocabulary and scrumptious illustrations.  This is a picture book for our middle and senior students.  This book is also an example of a trickster tale.

Vocab - precisely, manicured, flourish, gloated, unaccustomed, fraternize, dignity, squeamish, patrons and mayhem.

Here is a review if you need more detail of the plot.  Mr. Maxwell's mouse was first published in 2004. The paperback copy was released this year.

You might also enjoy Cat you'd better come home, The Spider and the Fly and Strat and Chatto.

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