Scratch and Old Mouse

Kathryn England
Character Publishing (2013)
ISBN 9780989079709
Reviewed by Tamra LeValley and Grandkids for Reader Views Kids (5/14)

Scratch is a young mouse that is looking for a good meal because he is so hungry.  He finds a piece of cheese in a trap but does not want to risk getting hurt.  As he wanders around the house he finds some cheese inside the mouse hole of Old Mouse.  He decides to take it and then starts to have regrets.  As he continues to think about how naughty he was Scratch becomes so sad that he must make amends.  Will Old Mouse forgive him?  Can Scratch forgive himself?

"Scratch and Old Mouse" by Kathryn England is one of the best books I have read to my grandchildren.  It has so many unique qualities to help teach children right from wrong and the feelings they get with doing either one.  Scratch starts to feel the actual weight of his decision to steal.  The cheese becomes too heavy for him to bear until he decides to return it to Old Mouse.  Not only do the words get across how someone is affected by their actions but the illustrations help bolster that image.  It opens up dialog that a parent can have with their kids about how stealing affects them and the ones they stole from.  It is a visual tool that the author was fantastic at putting on paper.

The cover of the book has a "Character Scale" that lets the parent know what to point out to the children.  This book suggests honesty, forgiveness, empathy and respect.  Each one of these is clearly found by the reader.  I suggest that once the reader comes upon each one they point it out to the child because the illustrations are there as helpful tools.  In the back of the book there are all kinds of creative ideas that can be done with each child.  There is also a "Word Play" section that helps the child retain knowledge of the book, but my favorite would be the "Mouse Facts" section.  It gives tidbits of information of what mice are really like such as....did you know that "A mouse's tail is almost as long as its body?"  

I strongly suggest this book for kids 2-9 years old.  This book teaches a lesson that can’t be talked about too much.  It strives to instill in our kids what all parents wish for in their children......honesty and compassion. 

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