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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Sir Mouse to the Rescue
by Dirk Nielandt
Age Range: 6-8
Expect the Unexpected in this picture book where stereotypes are turned on their head. Not only is it about a feisty little mouse that likes to wear armour and believes she is a Knight, but her best friend is a dragon!
These quirky tales, five in all, from Dutch author Dirk Nielandt are full of wit and irony. Adults and older readers will appreciate the parody and references to traditional fairy tales, while younger readers will engage with Sir Mouse and her heroic antics.
In ‘About a tall tower’ it is a prince who needs to be rescued from a tower. When Mouse and Dragon discover the Prince calling for help, Mouse grumbles “Maybe he needs some help with his homework. Or he’s looking for someone to tidy his room … Or he could be sitting on the loo and he’s run out of paper”. When the Prince asks Mouse to marry him in ‘About Knights and Happy Ever After’, Mouse declines because she doesn’t want to become a princess and wear a dress. Dragon is relieved too as she’d rather have a knight as a friend than a princess.
Mouse is confident and proud. She can’t help feeling superior to her friend the gentle and thoughtful dragon who is usually the one that comes up with solutions to their dilemmas and for which Mouse, of course, takes the credit. Nevertheless, they have an enduring friendship which is summed up in the final story ‘About War and Friendship’.
These delectable stories are perfectly complimented by the comic illustrations provided by Dutch illustrator Marjolein Pottie. Using a mixture of collage and paper cutting techniques, from the floral patterned end-papers, to the vibrant illustrations of Mouse and Dragon, Pottie combines simplicity and detail with great style.