Title: How Mice Became Small
Author: Zev Lewinson
Illustrator: Debi Coules
To some people, mice can be cute and cuddly but once upon a time, supposedly they ruled the world! In How Mice Became Small by Zev Lewinson, this children’s tale is told how mice went from huge monstrosities to tiny creatures.
This unnumbered but around thirty page over-sized paperback book has a colorful drawing of a bald elf man watching a miniscule mouse shrink in his lap on the front jacket. The back jacket has simply five short reviews. Illustrator Debi Coules does a good job depicting the detailed drawings, some which take up more than one page. Although the book is targeted toward children, some of the drawings are dark and scary and may frighten very young preschool age children.
According to the book, Lewison based the story on his wife’s written paper from when she was a child and honors her both at the beginning and end. Besides a short biography on both author and writer with childhood pictures, the wife’s copy of the original story along with her photograph and biography is included.
This tome is from way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, when fearsome mice were considered the largest, meanest and hungriest animal around, the rulers of the animal and people kingdoms. Of course, there was one biggest, deadliest, greediest, cruelest, most ferocious mouse who wanted to be ruler of all and insisted being called “Your Royal Highness, King of Kings, Haughtiest and Naughtiest, Epitome of Evil and Ruthlessness, King James” every time.
One day the unhappy King James made a new law that half of all money, food and toys on the planet belonged to him. Due to his greed, he changed that rule twice, ending up demanding one hundred percent of everything for himself.
This was not at all acceptable but since everyone feared this mean mouse, they worried and wondered what to do. Along comes a cheerful little man who approaches, calling him only “James.” Before King James can eat him, the elf casts a spell on the him and shrinks the gigantic rat, turning him and all other mice into the cuddliest, fuzziest, smallest little creatures. A little girl finds the little mouse and keeps him as her cherished pet. In the end, everyone was happy, including James as now he feels loved by everyone.
This is a nice story that teaches about the pitfalls of greed but, due to some of the scary, large mouse drawings, may not be a peaceful bedtime story for the very little ones. The hand-written original story was very entertaining.