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 Fagan’s Ten Old Men and a Mouse will delight both the young and old. Illustrations by Gary Clement heighten the fun.
About the authors
Cary Fagan is the author of eight previous novels and five books of short stories, including The Student, Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart, and A Bird's Eye. He has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Writers' Trust Fiction Award, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, and has won the Toronto Book Award and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. He is also an acclaimed writer of books for children, having won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, a Mr. Christie Silver Medal, the Joan Betty Stuchner—Oy Vey!—Funniest Children's Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. Fagan's work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Korean and Persian. He still lives in his hometown of Toronto.
Gary Clement is an author and illustrator of children’s books who won the Governor General’s Award for The Great Poochini and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Just Stay Put. He has also illustrated A Coyote Solstice Tale by Thomas King and Stories from Adam and Eve to Ezekiel by Celia Barker Lottridge. He is the editorial cartoonist for the National Post, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Toronto where he regularly exhibits his drawings and paintings.
“…immediately enjoyable with its familiar structure, subtle humour, and gentle pace. Rendered in warm water-colours, [the art] captures all the humour and sentimentality of the story, but adds a tiny element of slapstick with goofy expressions and bumbling gestures. In its exploration of the theme of little things eliciting big changes, Ten Old Men and a Mouse teaches a gentle lesson about compassion, friendship, and the passing stages of life… sure to make for many satisfied readers.”
—Quill & Quire
Praise for The Fortress of Kaspar Snit:
“…Fagan has a gift for the rhythm of story, and his sly humor is always unexpected and entertaining.”
— The Toronto Star
Praise for Daughter of the Great Zandini:
“Fagan proves himself a wonderful writer with a rare comic gift.”
— Publishers Weekly
“… a wonderfully whimsical and … heart-warming, story….”
Ten Old Men and a MouseTen Old Men and a Mouse is an endearing story of a determined mouse looking to make her new home in an old synagogue. Gary Clement’s cleverly drawn, watercolour illustrations give faces to the easily recognized personalities of the ten old men and a mouse with attitude! This attitude causes both mayhem and fun when their membership of ten becomes eleven and the men realize their daily routine is about to change.
A love story charged with the key elements of faith, hope and charity gives the book its appeal to the young audience for whom it is intended, while delighting adults too. The old men share their religious faith and friendship while caring for a mouse they were originally determined to destroy. In an act of charity, the men allow the mouse to stay and are subsequently responsible for her safety and happiness. Their joy at the birth of the mouse’s children is short lived and they must live in the hope that they have made the right decision by moving their mouse family to the country. The ending of the story is another act of faith on the part of the mouse and while young children clap that the adventure has come full circle, older readers are reminded of the circle of life itself.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2007. Vol.30 No.2.
Ten Old Men and a MouseThe synagogue was once a bustling place, but now only 10 men come to tend it and pray daily. Then one day, a little scritchscratch betrays the first new member in years: a tiny mouse who has taken up residence among the holy books.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.