Town Mouse Country Mouse

by Jan Brett (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Mice overflowing with personality and richly detailed settings make this a favorite edition of the classic tale.

The classic tale of a town mouse and a country mouse takes on a new dimension in the imaginative and talented hands of Jan Brett. She introduces two engaging mouse couples eager to get away from their everyday lives. But when they agree to swap homes, they are plunged into unexpected adventures at every turn. In a story filled with suspense and humor, lush green country scenes alternate with the elegant details of a fine Victorian townhouse, making this a breathtakingly beautiful picture book.

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With animal characters so realistic they look as though they might leap from the pages (fetching clothing notwithstanding), this playful retelling is certain to become a favorite.

Kirkus Review - Children

 A strong entry from a popular artist.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

The grass may be greener in the country, and the carpets softer in the city, but—as the two amiable mouse couples in Brett's rich interpretation of the timeless fable finally resolve—"There's no place like home." Brett's ( The Mitten; Trouble with Trolls ) version of how they arrive at their wise conclusion serves up a sumptuous visual feast. The art on each double-page spread (alternately devoted to urban and rural settings) is brimming with droll details; exquisite patterns appear on clothing, china and rugs; and imaginative borders range from silk cord to pottery shards to dandelions. The text also conveys the culture gap between the city and the country mice with a good deal of humor. When she feels a raindrop on her head, the city-mouse wife asks, "Is the bathtub leaking?"; and her natty husband proudly dons a new jacket ("so colorful and eye-catching"), not realizing that it will indeed catch a creature's eye—that of a large owl whose greedy clutches he barely escapes. Bound to be a standout among the season's picture book offerings. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 1994 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3-A new spin on the familiar fable. A mouse couple living in a town are enchanted by the simple life of the country, and, while on a picnic, meet a pair of local mice who long for the luxury and convenience of the city. Homes are swapped, but they find that reality is different from their expectations. Both couples end up fleeing from unfamiliar, predators-a cat in town and an owl in the country-all the way home. The owl and cat collide, and in an original twist, negotiate a territorial swap of their own. Traditionally, the town resident is portrayed as a pompous snob who turns his nose up at the country dweller's simple fare, while the country mouse is a folksy bumpkin. In Brett's version, the town mice are as charming and naive as their country cousins. Furthermore, the original fable depicts country life as utterly tranquil, but the city mice find that it is anything but serene. Brett's narrative alternates the parallel mishaps of the two sets of mice with lively, smooth writing and a deft touch of humor. As with any of her books, the illustrations are rich with meticulous detail. The natural fibers of the clothes of the country mice are as realistic in texture as the fine beaded and bedecked clothing of the town mice. The text is neatly integrated into each double-page spread. Lozenges at either side portray the activities of the two predators and are bordered with natural objects such as buttons, stamps, coins, and safety pins. Because of the wealth of small details, the book is better suited for one-on-one sharing than as a group read aloud.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster County Library, PA

Copyright 1994 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date
January 20, 2003
BISAC categories
JUV007000 - Juvenile Fiction | Classics
Library of Congress categories
Book Sense Book of the Year Award
Nominee 1995 - 1995

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