champaine, August 30, 2008
This is probably my favorite childhood book. I still have my original first addition (came to my house as part of the "Weekly Reader" program), and have purchased several to give as gifts to my adult friends. It is a poignant story about friendship, coming of age, and mortality. The author leaves the obvious ending to the reader's imagination, but makes this point earlier in the story: Hickory tells a story he invented about mice hiding in a cheese just as the farmer's wife begins to slice it, and before he can get to the end, part of his "audience" run away, so he doesn't have to make up an ending. His family make these comments:
Brother "It is not fair to begin a story without knowing the end."
Sister "Anyone can guess the ending."
Mother "I do not want to hear it if the ending is sad."
and Father "All stories have their endings in their beginnings, if you know where to look."
The book is beautifully illustrated by the author, and there is an illustration on every page. People of all ages will enjoy this thought-provoking story. It is one of my personal treasures.