Aesop’s lion and mouse (or mice, as this case has it) have never looked more stylish.
With his massive frame stretched across the page, a wacky-hued lion sleeps. But when a tiny mouse, resplendent in olive-green heels and a tuft of electric-blue fur, finds herself next to the lion, he wakes up. The wry narrator intones (and readers will agree): “Uh-oh.” But true to the fable, the lion lets the mouse go, with the mouse squeaking in reply, “One day I will help you.” (Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the gray bars, which were previously melded into the background design, are now also found in front of the lion). The mouse returns, with the help of many fashion-forward rodent friends, and fits a key into a never-before-seen padlock. The lion is free—presumably from a zoo—and the mice are happy. As an added bonus after the moral is delivered, the lion says “thank you.” Two lessons in one! The story not quite as haut-couture as its art, with chopped sentences and direct exposition that serve its intended audience of beginning readers well, if not elegantly. But the illustrations round everything out, giving context clues and a shift in perspective, zooming back to reveal the complete picture.
Likely a bit more turquoise and abstract than Aesop had in mind, but fantastic visual fun. (Early reader/folktale. 2-5)