The Mouse Conundrum

mouse collage

A little girl came into the library asking for books, preferably a series, about animals. As I went through the animal books I know, I realized, almost all of them are about mice/rodents! Redwall, Ralph S. Mouse, The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Geronimo Stilton, Poppy, The Tale of Despereaux, Tumtum and Nutmeg, Stuart Little what is it with children’s books and mice? The illustrations are so cute it makes me want to love them, and I love the little mouse characters…but mice are gross. I know this after living in a really old, previously poorly maintained, fixer-upper with a mouse problem.

In grad school we talked about why so many picture books feature animals: it’s easier for the children to identify with the animal characters since the animal characters could be anybody, regardless of ethnicity, facial features, age or any other physical characteristic.  Do mice, as a small, easily recognized animal, appeal more to children? Do they identify more with the small mouse? What are your thoughts on the mouse obsession?


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