March 17, 2010

"St. Patrick and The Three Brave Mice" by Joyce Stengel

St. Patrick and The Three Brave Mice
By:  Joyce A. Stengel
Illustrated By:  Herb Leonhard
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Date January 21, 2009
Pages: 32
Level: Ages 4 - 8
ISBN: 10 1589806638

 Rating - Five Tiaras!
About the Book -
St. Patrick settles in for a much-needed nap after driving the evil snakes from Ireland; however, one clever snake escaped the ring of his miraculous bell. Just in time to witness the sneaky snake stealing the bell from St. Patrick's side, Tulla mouse knows something must be done. She calls upon the help of her brothers, Ryan and Brian, because she realizes she cannot accomplish such an important task on her own.
The three mice work quickly to devise a plan to return St. Patrick's bell, but they know it will not be easy. Despite the fact these mice are no match for the snake in size and wit, the desire to right a wrong encourages the mice to work together. The siblings are successful in returning the bell to St. Patrick and all rejoice when Ireland is finally free of all snakes.

This endearing story provides a big lesson from characters of a very small size. Playful language accompanied by Celtic-inspired illustrations makes this hopeful tale of three brave mice a great lesson of teamwork and the ability of good to triumph evil.

From the Inside Flap -

One sleepless night, with the moon high, the little mouse Tulla scurries from her nest. As she quietly enjoys the evening, the peace is interrupted by Snake slithering from the forest. He is the only snake left in Ireland, the lone creature who has been clever enough to escape St. Patrick and his miraculous bell--and he has a taste for mouse meals. Her whiskers quivering with fright, Tulla watches Snake as he stealthily steals the bell from a sleeping St. Patrick. Despite her fear, Tulla devises a plan just as crafty as Snake's. With the help of two brave mice, she will restore the bell and help St. Patrick rid the Emerald Isle of its last snake.

My Thoughts -

When I first saw St. Patrick and The Three Brave Mice, I thought how wonderful it would be to review this book with St. Patrick's Day coming up! That was in January and it's already here!  This book is the perfect way to introduce the story of the real St. Patrick to your children and maybe help answer some questions on why many people of Irish decent (or not) celebrate this holiday.  As with many children's books, there is a lesson to be learned as well, and Joyce does a fantastic job weaving a tale that will keep the attention of even your littlest reader.  Because, as you will soon see, it doesn't matter how big you are, but what you can do when you  put your mind to it and follow your heart.

One night while Tulla Mouse just can't sleep, she leaves the nest where her two brothers Ryan and Bryan lay sound asleep.  Tulla is looking at the beautiful moon rising high while cuddled up in a single leaf listening to the sounds of night when out of the darkness she hears a very loud snore coming from a man fast asleep under the tree.  Not only that, she sees a glowing bell resting by this man's side and immediately wonders if it could be the "Real St. Patrick" with his miraculous bell.  You see, St. Patrick rang his bell and rid Ireland of all the snakes.  Well...all except one VERY clever snake that escaped the sound.

With Tulla Watching, that night the snake decides to stuff the bell with grass and steal it! No more ringing would be very good for this sneaky snake.  Tulla as small as she is shows that size doesn't matter when she runs to the nest to wake Ryan and Bryan to concoct a plan and get that bell back to St. Patrick!  Like most brothers, not too happy to be woken up, blame it on a "nightmare" or Tulla's "imagination".  But, when she insists and they see for themselves, the three little mice spring into action on a mission to get the bell.

Even though Tulla is so very afraid, Ryan and Bryan remind her that she is the lightest, the tiniest and the quietest  and that she is the perfect one to lead the pack. Shaking with fear, she knows what she must do to help save Ireland.  With all the commotion, it doesn't take St. Patrick long before he's on his feet.  Once he begins to ring his bell, in no time he and the three very brave little mice see to it that the last sneaky snake slithers toward the sea,  never to be seen again. 

If you love a well-told story with gorgeous illustrations then I suggest you pick up "St. Patrick and The Three Brave Mice".  The Illustrations of the mice are too cute for words and the emerald greens and ocean blue tones that are used will certainly get he attention of even the little ones that like to "read" mainly for the pictures.  In the back of the book on the last page Joyce gives you some history on Ireland and St. Patrick in her "Author's Note".  So, to make my long review short, I absolutely loved this book and have highly recommended it to everyone since I've finished it.  A wonderful way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the children.

I've recently had the pleasure of corresponding with Joyce and I'd like you all to keep an eye out for either an interview or guest post with this very talented author. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Kisses and Toodles


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