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Children's Fiction Mice, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, Etc.

The Vole Brothers

illustrated by Roslyn Schwartz

Owlkids Books Inc.
Initial publish date
Sep 2011
Mice, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs, etc., Words, Siblings
Recommended Age
2 to 5
Recommended Grade
p to 2
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


From the creator of the beloved Mole Sisters series comes an irresistible tale about two ravenous rodents, wanted for snacking on too many strawberries, daisies, tulips, and other vegetation. And after these rodents chomp and chew all the plants they can find around their home — a drainpipe in an urban alley — they’re still hungry! So hungry, in fact, they could even eat a cat! Using an imaginative paper bag disguise and a natural talent for tunneling, this mischievous pair sets off in pursuit of a feline-sized feast — and finds a slice of pepperoni pizza. But the vagrant voles are left empty-handed — and empty-tummied — when a greedy crow and an army of ants invade their picnic. Chock full of silly antics and suspense, young children will root for these insatiable characters as they continue on their quest for food. And readers will celebrate along with them when the Vole Brothers’ perseverance pays off when they are tossed into a garden full of luscious strawberries — a very happy ending if you’re a hungry vole!

About the author

ROSLYN SCHWARTZ is the author of the internationally acclaimed Mole Sisters series. In addition to the ten titles in the Mole Sisters series, she has published two other picture books, three adult books, and released two animated films with the National Film Board. In 2003, Schwartz received the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for her body of work. She lives in Montreal.

Roslyn Schwartz's profile page


  • Commended, Canadian Toy Testing Council's Great Book List
  • Short-listed, Ontario Arts Council, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Awards Picture Book category
  • Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Starred Selection
  • Commended, National Parenting Publications Awards, Children's Products Competition, Honor Book
  • Runner-up, Moonbeam Children's Book Award, Picture Book - Preschool category, Silver
  • Winner, Ontario Library Association, Best Bets for Children and Young Adult List, Picture Book category

Editorial Reviews

Schwartz displays a sense of humour that is perfectly in tune with what will amuse a preschooler while reserving some entertainment for the adult sharing the book...the language is well-suited to the events of the story and the facial expressions of the hungry voles, while the rich variety of action words describing various creatures chowing down will delight any reader.

Quill & Quire

...cleverly written, with elements of humor, surprise, and shock. The illustrations give readers another set of characters to love, with lots of action and excitement to boot.

Sal's Fiction Addiction blog

...fresh and unique...Above all, Schwartz has created a book that is just so much fun!

Canadian Children's Book News

...illustrations are delightful, displaying a pitch-perfect sense of comedic timing.

Kirkus Reviews

There are just a few words on each page making it a great read for preschool aged children. Expressive illustrations bring the story to life.

I am a Reader, Not a Writer Blog

This simple tale is a buffet of pleasures and will bounce off the page and into the hearts of young readers, especially if read aloud in a one-on-one setting.

CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials

...expressive and full of humor. A fun introduction to graphic storytelling.

School Library Journal engaging story...perfect for preschool age kids and beginning readers.

Mundie Kids blog

The expressive sounds and dialogue...would make this a fun read-aloud.

Resource Links

Roslyn Schwartz's new book The Vole Brothers is certain to entertain, engage and delight young children and their adult reading partners.  The adventures of the Vole Brothers provide many opportunities for readers of all ages to laugh, learn and share similar experiences.  It is a simple story with many levels of understanding and engagement and will become a favourite in homes, schools and early learning settings across the country.

The Learning Partnership

Perfect for preschool age kids and beginning readers.

Mundie Kids blog

There's no mistaking that mischief is afoot in this rollicking story by Roslyn Schwartz...With each page-turn the story grows incrementally until the satisfying, tummy-filling ending...a lively story, just right for children 2½ and up.

Toronto Public Library

Wonderful emergent reader. I love everything about this title. We need more like this!

Marla Conn, Reading/Literary Specialist and Educational Consultant

...simple but humorous text and charming illustrations to create another pair of sibling heroes with an altogether engaging and equally single-minded villain...It's a classic cat-and-mouse story that is sure to please preschool fans of the chase.

Books for Kids blog

Nutty, clever and bursting with character.

Toronto Star

Librarian Reviews

The Vole Brothers

When you’ve created a series as well-loved and successful as The Mole Sisters, it makes sense to keep doing what you’re doing. The Vole Brothers is related to Roslyn Schwartz’s earlier series in many ways but it also has much to offer that is fresh and unique.

From the front cover, the brothers are mischievous and fun. One is pulling a funny face, while the other is making rabbit ears over his brother’s head. These are two childlike voles, full of emotions, appetites and innocent assumptions. Young readers will giggle when they conclude that, if a cat appears to smell like pepperoni pizza, a cat would make a terrific dinner for a voracious vole.

N ot only will young readers be excited to read a book that looks like the graphic novels of big kids, but Schwartz’s comic-book style is an interesting approach to promoting early literacy skills. The emerging reader surmises what the character is thinking and determines for herself what the bubble above his head might actually “say.”

The language is appropriately simple, aimed at children aged two to five, but the story has multiple layers that will engage much older readers as well. The full meaning is conveyed through Schwartz’s expressive artwork – particularly the gestures of the cat – which invites the audience to “read between the lines,” making that connection between the words on the page and what is happening in the story.

Above all, Schwartz has created a book that is just so much fun!

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2011. Volume 34 No. 4.

The Vole Brothers

This is an irresistible tale about two ravenous rodents who are so hungry they could eat a cat. The cat leads them to a piece of pizza, which they manage to steal away from him, but their victory does not last long. A crow and some ants outsmart the voles, and they’re left empty-handed. Children will chuckle at the crazy antics of the brothers and delight in the dialogue chock full of onomatopoeia.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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