(A vine review) This is the 1st book in the church mice series although it is definitely a stand alone story.
This is a beautiful book with amazingly detailed illustrations. The story is about Arthur the mouse and how he organises the other mice in town to live with him and Sampson the cat in the church and how they get accepted by the townsfolk. It's a fun tale and very well paced. The illustrations are fun to explore (whether they be large full page ones or the numerous smaller ones) appealing to all age groups. For adults and older children the epitaphs on the gravestones and plaques often provoke laughter.
Its very good book as read by adult to smaller children whilst exploring the pictures but still enthrals those able to read it for themselves.
The only thing that had to be explained was the policeman's nightshirt on the last page although by the time I was answering the question `what is he wearing' they had moved onto gigging at the baby mice tying his boot laces together.
This has become a coffee table book which has guests old and young chuckling over it whilst I make cups of tea etc. Quite a few adults have definitely put it on their Christmas shopping list for grandchildren/nieces & nephews.
This is a delightfully presented reissue of Graham Oakley's charming and much praised illustrated children's book. Oakley originally intended to write a series exploring the various public buildings of his imaginary town Wortlethorpe. In the event, the story of Sampson (the cat), and Arthur and the other church mice was such a hit that he continued with a series of fourteen Church Mice tales, running from the original in 1972 to 2000.
Before becoming an author, Oakley worked as an illustrator, as well as a set and advertising designer. A good way of seeing The Church Mouse is as a book where the illustrator has taken over, giving us a picture-led story, where almost all the characterisation, and most of the fun, is in the illustration rather than the text. For example, when Arthur meets some new mice, they tell him about the dangers of their lives. "Look at that thing," they grumbled. "People leave them lying about and they can be dangerous." This is followed by a superb illustration of three mice examining a mousetrap, which is the visual punchline to the joke.
You really can't fault The Church Mouse, and it is not at all difficult to see why it became a success and why people carried on buying the equally immaculate, detailed, gentle and humorous sequels. This Modern Classics edition has been presented with an appropriate attention to quality, which is important, as this is a book to enjoy slowly during a long afternoon.
I remember reading about The Church Mouse when I was a youngster and reading it to my children too, I now get to read this to my grand children. The story is amazing and the drawings that bring this wonderful story to life, is a must to see.
Arthur the church mouse and Sampson the church cat, love living in the Church. Until one day Arthur realise he needs something more substantial to eat and someone other than Sampson to talk too, perhaps someone like him, a mouse, as Sampson is always napping when Arthur wants to chat. He speaks to the Parson about an idea he has, after reading something in the bible, the Parson agrees so off Arthur goes into the town and goes in search of more mice. After his little adventure he returns home to the church and there begins even more adventures.
A truly wonderful tale that children adore and the pictures of the adventures children of all ages will love the details in them. Magnificent.
Somehow, I'd missed the joys of this lovely series first time around with my own children but am delighted that the book has been re-released for my grandchildren to enjoy. Children who enjoy poring over each tiny detail of a picture will love this book - the illustrations are rich with incident. The colours are rich and realistic - indeed the whole book is a visual treat. Confident readers of c. seven and above will enjoy tackling the story by themselves - which is quite lengthy, but that's a good thing. This isn't a book for the 5 minutes before the babysitter arrives, this is a cuddle down after a bath with glass of milk book, one for a special unhurried time. The gentle story makes it ideal bedtime reading, but contains enough little twists to keep children intrigued and characters that are fun, with humans largely taking a back seat, as the marmalade cat and the church mice hold centre stage. There is enough humour in the details for adults to smile as they read and enough magic to keep children enthralled. A treat.
This is one of those special children's books that hopefully you will read over and over with your children and then your grandchildren - they will adore it, and you probably will too (I'm 23 and loved it!). It is the perfect book for sitting together and spending ages looking at the beautifully elaborate pictures, pointing out the sweet little details that will charm you and make you laugh.
The writing is great too - it's not too short a book, it has a lovely plot which has good morals behind it (teamwork, tolerance and brotherly love), and it's written in a way that will be educational (there are definately some words here that will need explaining to children under about 9 or 10!) and entertaining to most ages (there are jokes aimed at children, and also subtle ones aimed at adults). I would say that it's suitable from about age 3-4 upwards.
I can't recommend this gorgeous book highly enough.
A wonderful, superbly illustrated story of a church mouse, who, weary with a diet of sweets dropped by choirboys which make him 'fat and bilious' and of no rodent company, sets up a 'mouse co-operative' in his church home, with a vast range of mice from the town of Wortlethorpe cleaning the church, polishing the brasses and doing other chores in exchange for rations of cheese and milk, and free board and lodgings. Luckily the church cat, Samson, has been converted to Christianity and is 'frighteningly meek' - at least, until the young mice decide to tease him! A wonderful, very witty story, with wonderfully expressive-looking mice, brilliant depictions of the cat Samson, and a good plot - Oakley uses language that children will understand, but also drops in the odd word that will improve their vocabulary. The picture of Samson singing the 'Song of the Nightingale' is a particular favourite of mine. Very much recommended, and I think it's such a shame that some of Oakley's books are now out of print.
It is good when publishers follow the rule "if it's not broken, don't fix it". the pictures and the text of this story were always perfect, the pictures interesting in their details, the story line amusing enough to delight an adult who might read it as well as the children. And it leads to children asking questions, which I find important. It's no good giving books to children which don't challenge them. But the strongest point of this book is the humour. The binding is solid, the paper strong, dust cover's and book's design nicely done. An edition to be enjoyed by book lovers. (And may be this encourages to teach children to take care in this time of rampant and wasteful consumerism) I can't find a single fault with this edition of an excellent book.
I suspect that this book might appeal more to its original readers who grew up in the 70s with Graham Oakley's series rather than today's toddlers, but personally I was delighted to re-visit my childhood.
The story itself is fairly simple but the illustrations are completely magical and worth every penny. The intricate detail, the use of colour, the imaginative perspective allow the reader (whatever their age) to completely immerse themselves in this delightful visual world, and the layout on the page allows the contrasts and juxtapositions to really come through.
Deservedly a modern classic, this is a charmingly old-fashioned and nostalgic children's story that really is lifted to another level by the illustrations.