Book Review: The Barking Mouse

Rating: ★★★☆☆

This is a hilarious retelling of a Cuban folk tale, which is also told in Uruguay and probably in other countries.  It’s prefaced by an author’s note telling about his boyhood as the child of Cuban immigrants, and how his grandmother, on learning that he’d abandoned Spanish as a teen, “got so mad threw food at me until I learned it again.”

The simple story, brightly illustrated, is of a cheerfully affectionate family who goes on a picnic.  Due to the rather foolish antagonism of the children, a cat comes to threaten the excursion and attempts to eat the mice.  The action comes to a climax when the cat is about to eat the entire family, and is resolved (I won’t quite spoil the ending) when one of them threatens the cat in an unusual way.

The book is lightly salted with Spanish phrases (a brief glossary is helpfully provided.)  It is a lighthearted yet sincere tribute to bilingualism, and the family’s unity and affection (notwithstanding the cowardice of certain members in hiding behind Mother) is delicious.

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Publication Information: Sacre, Antonio. Barking Mouse, The. Aguirre, Alfredo. . 2003. ISBN: 0807505714.
Categories: 3 Stars, Age 00-04
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Posted on April 21, 2009

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