Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review - The Church Mice Series

Today, I'm briefly reviewing a set of children's books that we discovered at our local library, The Church Mice series by Graham Oakley.

The tale is about a vegetarian cat  and the resident mice that inhabit a church in a small English village.  A few of the mice have attitudes coupled with a great sense of entitlement.  The tolerant cat is often coerced.  These are great stories to read with the kids. 


The English author and illustrator, Graham Oakley, born August 27, 1929, is best known for The Church Mice series, from 1970 to 2000.  There are 12 books in this series with beautiful detailed art work in each book.


The Church Mice Adrift and The Church Mice in Action were 'Highly Commended' runners up for the 1976 and 1982 Kate Greenaway Medals from the Library Association.  We purchased these two titles at a library sale.  A short mini-review  of these titles follows.


UPDATE:  Photo now uploaded. Storage problem fixed.



The Church Mice series by Graham Oakley, photo by DG Hudson



The Church Mice Adrift

A tale of how the church mice and Sampson lure the larger rats out of their cozy home in the church, so the mice can move back in.  A Rataurant was their ingenious idea, the rats thought so, too.  Only one problem had to be solved - two mice had to remain with the rataurant to serve the rat clientele.  Samson, the church cat, is their only hope for escape when all the food is gone.


The Church Mice in Action

When the parson's sister visits, Samson becomes a contender in the world of cat shows.  The church mice see an opportunity to raise money for a roof repair, and to that end, Samson goes through with the humiliation of a cat pageant.  The mice do what they do best, and try to turn the odds in their favor. 


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Are you familiar with Graham Oakley's stories or his illustrations?  Do you have a cat, vegetarian or normal? Please share in the comments.

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References: 

http://www.grahamoakley.co.uk/  Home page, Graham Oakley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Oakley  Author info and a list of books

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/510203.The_Church_Mouse
Sample of what the book looks like

20 comments:

  1. Those sound like cute books! I don't think I've ever read them before. I am on the hunt for one more book from my childhood but the name and author escape me.

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    1. Thanks, JoJo. They are hilarious. Smart mice, smart-mouth mice, and an intelligent cat. The people are always secondary characters.

      Kids's books: Beatrix Potter's stories-English, Uncle Remus stories-Deep South, depends on what story you're seeking. As soon as I could read, I read Heidi and Black Beauty. If you can remember bits about the story, ask your readers.

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  2. I've never heard of these before, but they sound adorable.

    It's funny, I'm critiquing a story for a friend right now that is an animal story. We both kind of wondered about the market for talking animal stories, since they seem to have gone out of favor somewhat, but he got some positive reaction from an agent who wants to see more of it, so I think it's fair to say these kinds of stories still resonate with kids.

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    1. I think the animal books were my kids' favorites. I liked doing the different voices for the kids.

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  3. I hadn't heard of these books before, but they sound cute. The illustrations, too. Sorry about the Blogger issues.

    Thank you for stopping by the A-to-Z and contributing to the co-host questionnaire discussion!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. Thanks for the sympathy. The Church Mice books are excellent, and I like the fact that the artist illustrated his own story.

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  4. Sounds like my kids might like these.

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    1. We read every one in this series, Bryan. One of the two we have is out of print. Check out the library first.

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  5. I am not familiar with her books, but it looks like a really cute series!

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    1. It's got kid appeal. They like the little faces on the mice.

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  6. Sounds like a fun series; I like the idea of a vegetarian cat. =]

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    1. Samson is like a Zen cat. Never loses his cool. Thanks for visiting, Milo!

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  7. Oh this sounds like such a sweet series. :-D

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    1. It is, there are a couple of mice leaders in the story who will remind you of humans you know.

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  8. My kids would love this book.

    So glad to have found your blog!

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    1. Welcome and thanks for the follow. This series was one of our kids favourites. (another one was called 'Rotten Ralph', another cat)

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  9. Aww! I haven't heard of this series before, but it looks so cute. Love the idea of a vegetarian cat, although I think my cats would revolt if I tried to make them vegetarians.

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    1. I think a few cats would. But the mice don't have to worry at this church..

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  10. Looks like a cute series. I have never heard of it before. I love animal stories. It's good to keep alive books that aren't made into cartoons or, worse, come from cartoons and get commercialized beyond belief. I have discovered that Rosemary Wells wrote Max & Ruby stories as well as other great children's books well before Max & Ruby became a television cartoon. I love sharing her books from our local library with my almost five year old!

    Do you have any Christmas time favorites?

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    1. Yes, Julie, but I'd have to search through the kids' books. We promoted reading a lot, and now both grown kids love to read.

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