Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Stone Mouse by Jenny Nimmo

Elly and Ted have come to stay in Aunt Maria's seaside house.  She leaves her little stone mouse to take care of the family.  When they arrive they don't seem to notice him :

"The stone mouse felt a little knife of ice strike through him. The cold crept right into his tiny feet and ears and froze them. He was terribly afraid he might be turning back into a stone again."

Luckily Elly does see him.  She smiles and "he knew that his soft coat, his ears, eyes and whiskers were all in place, and that his heart was beating."

Ted has arrived at the house but he is filled with anger.  He needs to lash out and the stone mouse becomes the object of his rage.  He takes the mouse down to the beach and throws him into the ocean.  This is utterly terrifying but little mouse eventually washes into a rock pool.  Just as Elly is about to find him, Ted grabs him again and hurries off to bury him in the garden. 

The wise cats know something is deeply troubling Ted.  Ted hides in his room but the cats follow him and "They didn't budge, didn't even flick their tails, just glared at him; bored into him with a deadly, penetrating gaze. It was like being eaten from inside."

Yes this book is out of print but you may find a copy in a school library or from a used book supplier.  This little gem is well worth finding.  Jenny Nimmo has written a large number of books including series novels and picture books.

In just 61 pages The Stone Mouse is a powerful emotional story dealing with anger and disappoinment.  Communication is at the heart of this story.  If everyone had slowed down and talked to Ted before his rage became such an explosion much of the pain felt by Elly and the little mouse himself could have been avoided.  The Stone Mouse would be an excellent book to share with a class and you can find some discussion ideas here.

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