King Mouse

by Cary Fagan (Author) Dena Seiferling (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

King Mouse finds his authority in question when his subjects find crowns of their own. A gentle and humorous modern fable about imaginative play and kindness in the tradition of classics like Little Bear and Frog and Toad.

A sweet, thoughtful tale of friendship, sharing and play, King Mouse begins when a mouse comes upon a tiny crown in the grass.

The mouse puts the crown on his head, and when a bear subsequently comes upon him and asks if he's king, the mouse responds "Yes." This diminutive monarch settles into his new role very comfortably . . . until a snake comes upon a crown and claims she is queen. The mouse is not amused, especially when one by one the other animals find crowns and claim they are kings too.

But when the bear can't find a crown, King Mouse make a most surprising decision.

This inspired collaboration between an award-winning author and debut picture book illustrator Dena Seiferling is quietly profound in its simplicity and has the feeling of a modern classic.

Publishers Weekly

Newcomer Seiferling creates striking, silvery graphite spreads to illustrate this story by Fagan (What Are You Doing, Benny?), a fable about what happens when status turns heads. After a sleek mouse dons a tiny crown he finds in the grass, a bear asks if he is a king. "Yes," the mouse says. "I am." "Hail to the king," the bear promptly replies. In the story's richest sequence, the bear and other animals offer the mouse seeds, then entertain him with a performance ("They rehearsed over and over"). The mouse, for his part, accepts this treatment as his due. But when the other animals find more crowns, all dropped in the grass by a child, they announce that they're royals, too, parading around in a circle of folly: "Long live me!" Only the bear finds no crown, and he wanders away, despondent. The mouse notices, offers the bear a kindly gift, and the two watch the sunset together, pale color entering the spreads as the sun sets and their friendship grows. Fagan develops with dry wit the story of the crowns and the way they skew the animals' judgment, ending the tale on a wistful, affectionate note. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--In this whimsical tale, Fagan explores the ups and downs of pedestals. One day a mouse comes across an object in the grass. After sniffing and tasting and trying it on his tail, he discovers that it fits quite well on his head. Shortly thereafter, mouse encounters a bear who recognizes the object as a crown and asks the naive creature if he's a king. After a moment's thought, Mouse replies, "Yes, I am" and Bear bows down to him. Before long, King Mouse is hailed by not only the bear but also by a crow, a tortoise, and a fox who happen upon his highness. Mouse's newly minted subjects offer food and entertainment and Mouse soaks up the glory until more crowns are discovered and almost everyone becomes royalty. Young readers will identify with Mouse and his friends as their imaginative play accommodates a newcomer who is also a game changer. The quiet resolution is extremely satisfying and those who want to know where the crowns came from in the first place will appreciate the opening wordless spread. Seiferling's first outing as a picture book illustrator showcases her affinity for creating animal characters with human traits. Her graphite drawings, delicately colored digitally, exude an air of fantasy and perfectly complement this gentle, relatable story. At an inviting and comfortable eight inches square, the trim size is kid-friendly too. VERDICT Fans of Kevin Henkes and Laura Vaccaro Seeger will want to add this to their collections.--Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, MA

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Cary Fagan
CARY FAGAN's numerous kids' books include the Kaspar Snit novels, the Wolfie & Fly chapter books, Mort Ziff Is Not Dead and the picture books Little Blue Chair and the forthcoming What Are You Doing, Benny?, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Mr. Zinger's Hat, another of his picture books, was awarded the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the IODE Jean Throop Award, and he won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People for his body of work. Cary is also the author of six novels and three story collections for adults. He was born and raised in Toronto, where he continues to live with his family.

DENA SEIFERLING graduated with a BFA and Visual Communications Degree from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 1999. She works as an instructor at ACAD while pursuing her illustration and needle-felted art. Dena lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and two children. King Mouse is her first picture book.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 20, 2019
Age Range
3 - 7 years

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