TUNDRA MOUSE: A Storyknife Tale by Megan McDonald

TUNDRA MOUSE: A Storyknife Tale

Email this review


McDonald (see review above) and Schindler have created an uncommon blend of folkways and natural history that underscores a gracefully told, lovingly illustrated Christmas story. In an Alaskan variant of the town mouse/country mouse tale, a wild mouse--referred to as Tundra Mouse--finds herself in the unfamiliar environment of a human house, where she is welcomed by the resident House Mouse. Busy arranging a nest made from Christmas tinsel stolen from the family's tree, the mice are driven back out onto the tundra by a burst water pipe--their cheek pouches still full of silver threads. Weeks later out on the tundra, the children of the household find a litter of baby mice curled up in a nest made of tinsel. These events are part of a story about ""last Christmas"" told by a Yup'ik girl, Elena, to her younger sister, Lissie, as they gather berries. The soft colored-pencil illustrations portray the mice and the landscapes with almost botanical precision, and also employ symbols based on traditional Yup'ik ""storyknife"" drawings--figures scratched into mud or snow with the tip of a knife as the story proceeds. Younger listeners may need help with Lissie's interruptions story; older ones may want more information on tundra mice--specifically, what becomes of the mice when their burrows are invaded or crushed by humans, as they are here.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard