I often go into The Storybook Shoppe several times a week. Sometimes I go to take photos for our Facebook page, sometimes I go to shop for a birthday party gift, other times I go to take Molly and Connor after school or daycare to shop. Last week was one that I had the pleasure of visiting three times in a week. On each occasion, three different staff members all recommended Lindberg, The Tale of the Flying Mouse.
With not one glowing recommendations but THREE, I had to get this one home. Only one problem. Molly took one look at the cover and said she didn't want to read it. To my horror, I was unable to do my assignment! (And talk about judging a book by it's cover!) So I sat down by myself and read this book that Molly proclaimed "scary" and "dark."
What's the problem? I thought. Cute book about a mouse running from cats that learns to fly. And such beautiful illustrations!
When a new, mechanical mousetrap is invented, all the mice flee to America, the land of the free. But how will they flee with large cats guarding the ships? This mouse must learn to fly. He must be the courageous and daring mouse who defies all odds and triumphs the dangers of the cats, owls, other mice, and of course, the plane! What a great message about being courageous and perseverance.
When I returned the following week, Miss Bonnie asked what I thought of Lindbergh, The Tale of The Flying Mouse. I told her that my 5 year old daughter, Molly, thought it looked to scary and it was dark. At that time, she let me in on the lesser known fact of this book. It's a World War II analogy, one that parallels Nazi Germany.
Hiding from cats, escaping torture devices like mouse traps, sneakily planning an escape to a distant land, this mouse does everything a Jewish person running from Nazi's had to do. I had the chills. How could I have missed it? How did Molly subconsciously get creeped out by it? I read it again and again. Each time, I picked up something new. And yet, if you didn't know this fact -- you would just have guessed it was about aviation and a mouse's determination to build the best flying machine ever! This is one of my favorite things about children's literature. There are just so many layers.
The Storybook Shoppe and our staff recommends this book for students just learning about World War II and Nazi Germany, perhaps in 3rd or 4th grade, or little ones that are interested in aviation. It's appropriate and interesting for a wide range of ages and makes a fabulous addition to your library!
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