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The Mousewife [Hardcover]

Rumer Godden


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: NYR Children's Collection (April 21 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781590173107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590173107
  • ASIN: 1590173104
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 14.6 x 21.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #476,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hidden Story of Dorothy Wordsworth Nov. 24 2005
By Elizagape - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A beloved treasure of early childhood, THE MOUSEWIFE has haunted me ever since I first read it. It is a deceptively simple tale of a house-bound mouse who befriends a caged dove. But the conversations between the two creatures and the juxtapositions of domestic tasks for the mouse with the longing for the wild of the dove takes on a touching comment on Romanticism. The idea for the story is to be found in Dorothy Wordsworth's journals of Grasmere, which she kept for the pleasure of her brother, the poet William. She, William and Coleridge enjoyed a creative community of writing, but the contributions of Dorothy to this effort are only recently being recognized in feminist studies. Certainly this little story with its themes of domestic security and an awakened sense of the sublime of nature reflects the dilemma of women writers in Romanticism. While in Dorothy's original story the dove dies, in this book the dove is released by the mousewife. I do believe it would be well worth it to publish this book again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A true classic! April 4 2012
By Jaime A. Geraldi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"A cage would never do for one made to fly...", truer words have never been written! What a fantastic story about unforeseen friendship and bittersweet affection. The story is about a house-bound mouse who unexpectedly meets a caged dove. The mousewife is bored with her everyday routine caring for her mousehusband and has an appetite that cheese could never satisfy. She meets a dove who was captured and trapped. The dove's tales fill the mousewife with wonder and she is fascinated immediately. She learns about the world outside and aches for something more. Blue skies! Tall trees! Far horizons! I adored this story which offers a new perception on freedom, longing and love. Children and adults of all ages will embrace this story which can be read on many different levels and deem it a true classic.
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "once there was a little mousewife that was different from the rest." July 4 2009
By Julee Rudolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Meet a special mousewife. She goes through the motions of doing her mousewifely duties but is just not satisfied with same old, same old. This mousewife, getting a glimpse at the world outside her realm (the confines of the house) "want[s] more." Finally, a remedy to her longing arrives in the form of a turtledove, caught by a boy and confined in a cage by the woman of the house. Longing for his freedom, the dove refuses to eat. But in his new habitat, he has an avid audience in the disillusioned mousewife, with whom he shares his stories of flying and the joys of the world outside. Eventually he falls for her, even greets her with dove-y endearments and kisses "with his beak." One night she puts her babies to sleep, then sneaks off to rendezvous with the bird. Upon the mousewife's return, her mad mate takes drastic action. Choosing family over fowl, she frees the bird and experiences an epiphany about the outside world sans turtledove, "I can see for myself."

As an adult, I find this very short (ten minute read) story a bit intriguing, but as a picture book for four to eight year olds (its advertised target age) I don't. I can imagine (and have seen) the whole disillusionment issue going (expectedly) straight over the heads of these kids. My biggest beef with the book, however, is that the original author, Dorothy Wordsworth, gets almost no credit for her story! Shouldn't the cover say, "by Dorothy Wordsworth, as retold by Rumer Godden"? I mean, where is the outrage? For this, I can't get beyond thinking the published version is just "okay." And unfortunately, I have not been able to find the original version to judge it on its own merits.

As the mother of picture book readers, I believe that there are much more appropriate books for four to eight year olds: Frederick, Swimmy, Inch by Inch and The Biggest House in the World - all by Leo Lionni and Lily's Purple Plastic Purse and Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, who writes neat books with mice as main characters.
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic, timeless, ageless story Feb. 6 2013
By Carol Burk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have had this story for years in my class teaching of religion. It is a joyful story of freedom for the mouse and the dove.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book June 20 2009
By S. Kantorow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Very good book. Quick read, good story and beautiful illustrations. Got this for myself to read, but am going to have my 9yr old read it as well.

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