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by Julia Cunningham & illustrated by Michael Hague

Pub Date: March 12th, 1980
ISBN: 0394941128
Publisher: Pantheon

One might speculate on why the mouse is called Junction, but not very profitably. Cunningham shows him at a junction in his life, a protected wide-eyed innocent eager for experience and unacquainted with tears, fear, or hunger. In Cunningham's typical pretentious prose, Junction steals from bed one night, "achieves a passage" to the outside world, and revels, "aquiver with delight," in the freedom, the smell of grass, and the sight of stars. A bird and a squirrel warn him of the monstrous rat and the fearsome owl; but "danger is what I have come for," says Junction to himself. A cautionary tale in the making? On the contrary, when the rat does turn up it's to rescue Junction from the swooping owl, and to pity the wounded mouse's newly (and proudly) acquired wretchedness. Junction responds to the pity with love, and the rat responds in kind, "with a smile so wide with joy it gathered Junction into a feeling of forever." Whatever forever feels like, Junction moves in with the rat, and the two become "like father and son, king and princeling." Doesn't Junction miss his old treats and toys and pillows? "Never," he answers the rat. "The best is here, you with me and me with you. Always." But what has replaced his pampered past? From the mushy core to the sticky surface, it's not much like real life.