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Ned Mouse Breaks Away
ISBN 0888995946 / 9780888995940 / 0-88899-594-6
Publisher Groundwood Books
List price $5.95
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Tim Wynne-Jones has created unforgettable picture books and young adult fiction, but in Ned Mouse Breaks Away, he tries his hand at something a little different, a chapter book for the beginning reader. But in that inimitable Wynne-Jones way, Ned Mouse Breaks Away isn't your run-of-the-mill chapter book. It's an exploration of the power of the imagination, with a striking message about the importance of freedom and the resilience of the human spirit.
Ned Mouse is in prison for not finishing his spinach. He wrote in the unfinished spinach, the pureed squash, and the custard, "The government is unfair to mice!" And for speaking out, he's been locked up in a tiny cell, forced to wear a nasty striped uniform and eat awful food. He tries to tunnel out of the prison with his dessert spoon but ends up in the warden's house. The airplane he makes in shop class doesn't fly high enough over the prison walls; his disguise as a washerwoman doesn't fool the keeper. What's Ned Mouse to do? At last he thinks of a most ingenious plan and begins very slowly to mail bits and pieces of himself to his friend Morty--with surprising results!
Ned Mouse Breaks Away is a rich and many-layered chapter book that can be enjoyed for its spirit of adventure and derring-do as much as for the thoughtful and provocative storyline that lies just beneath its surface. It's a little gem of a story that will delight the beginning reader with its comedy and sense of adventure and will satisfy a slightly older reader with its focus on the importance of freedom and imagination in all our lives. Younger readers might also want to check out his Zoom series of picture books; older readers are sure to enjoy Some of the Kinder Planets, Lord of the Fries, and The Maestro. (Ages 7 to 9) --Jeffrey Canton [via]