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Ten Old Men and a Mouseby Cary Fagan
Synopses & Reviews
The synagogue was once a busy, bustling place, but now only ten old men come to tend it and pray each day. Then one day, a little scritch-scratch betrays the first new member in years: a tiny mouse who has taken up residence among the holy books. Of course, a trap must be set, but who will do it? Al volunteers, but in the morning the mouse is still there, and is just a little more appealing than he was before.
Day after day, the men become more engaged, until the mouse has a bed, pictures on the wall, and a little carpet, not to mention all the treats the men bring. Then comes the biggest surprise of all. He is a she, giving the ten old men reason to celebrate with peach schnapps — and to plan a trip to the country where they find the perfect place to release their numerous charges. Back at the synagogue, fall turns to winter. The ten old men miss their mice until a little scritch-scratch….
Full of gentle humor and witty truisms, Cary Fagans Ten Old Men and a Mouse will delight both the young and old. Illustrations by Gary Clement heighten the fun.
"Like the perfect brisket, this book offers a deeply satisfying balance of sweet and sour that you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy. Membership at the venerable and once-bustling synagogue has dwindled down to 10 old men: Max, Nat, Bud, Al, Mose, Herm, Lem, Tov, Gabe, and the always-late Saul. So when this geriatric crew discovers a starving mouse hiding among the prayer books, they quickly abandon plans to trap it. After all, as Saul wryly notes, 'He's the first new member we've had in thirty-five years.' The story that unfolds endearingly affirms a distinctly Jewish worldview ('There isn't a cat or dog as smart as our mouse,' says Herm proudly), while at the same time empathetically acknowledges that old age is not a day at the beach. 'You'll hear from your kids again,' Saul tells the mouse, after its true gender is revealed by the arrival of a large brood, which disbands some months later. 'You know when? When they need something.' Clement's (Just Stay Put) editorial-style pen-and-inks with watercolor wash clearly spring from great affection; he knits the 10 old men into a tight, funny ensemble worthy of a Neil Simon comedy, embracing the story's slapstick while eschewing caricature. Fagan's (The Market Wedding) dialogue-driven text is great fun to read out loud — full of kvetching, kibitzing and kvelling, yet written with a broad audience in mind. Ages 4-7." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
A native of Toronto, Cary Fagan is an award-winning childrens author, a writer of adult novels, and editor and contributor to a number of magazines and newspapers, including the Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and Books in Canada. His work has won the City of Toronto Book Award and the Jewish Book Committee Prize for Fiction. Cary has written several picture books for Tundra. Including Gogols Coat, and The Market Wedding. Daughter of the Great Zandini, winner of a Mr. Christie Silver Medal, was Carys first novel for children. The Fortress of Kaspar Snit, was his second. He also wrote Beyond the Dance, a biography of the National Ballet of Canadas prima ballerina, Chan Hon Goh which was shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for childrens non-fiction. Cary lives in Toronto with his two children.
Gary Clement has been the political cartoonist for Canadas National Post since its launch in 1998. As a freelance illustrator, his work has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Time, and Mother Jones. His illustrations have received numerous awards in Canada and in the United States. He is the author and illustrator of two childrens books, Just Stay Put and The Great Poochini, which received the Governor Generals Award for illustration in 1999. He also paints, draws, and exhibits. Gary Clement lives in Toronto with his wife, Gill, their two children, and a couple of animals.
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