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by Patricia Lakin & illustrated by John Manders

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 2002
ISBN: 0-385-32747-1
Publisher: Doubleday

A mouse-loving, pacifist cat? A public library? What do these have in common? They’re the main ingredients of the plot in this rollicking story about Clarence, who’s banished from a sandwich shop because of his refusal to hurt any living creature—including those of the rodent persuasion. Sad and alone, the feline finally finds refuge in a “strange place [where] [h]undreds of books lined the walls of a big room.” Like so many others, Clarence finds solace and a comfortable home in the library (the illustrations depict the Oakland Branch of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Library), especially because there’s not a mouse in sight. Soon Clarence comes to be known by his rescuer, the friendly librarian Mr. Spanner (wonderful—an older man, no less, who conducts story times), as Clarence Copy Cat because of the furry one’s penchant for sitting atop the photocopier. Life’s very good . . . until a guess-what makes an appearance through a hole under the copy machine. As usual, Clarence refuses to take part in any mouse-chasing or -catching scheme. Attempting to think of ploys to get the mouse without having to resort to distasteful violence, Clarence finally—and literally—hits upon a method of permanently banishing the creature, thanks to the copy machine. Young readers and listeners will find this a humorous and satisfying solution to the problem. If only all mouse eradications could be accomplished in so simple and amusing a way. Librarians take note: Young customers—those in branches with or without mice—will find much to smile about here, and Manders’s goofy, cartoony illustrations are filled with energy and child appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)