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Mikeharvey

The Mouse & His Child by Russell Hoban

Although Russell Hoban's THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD (1967) is often described as a  children's book it doesn't strike me as such. It has discernible children's book elements, but that's as far as it goes. It's about a mechanical, tin, wind up toy, a father mouse holding the hands of a child mouse which, when wound up and set in motion dance in a circle.  Near the beginning of the book the toy is thrown out as broken, and the story tells of their adventures as they wander a derelict world of rubbish dumps and dangers.  They meet a variety of other creatures like rats and shrews and other discarded toys, especially a dignified tin elephant. Their chief enemy is Manny Rat.  The Mouse and His Child wander through a world of war and peril in search of 'self-winding'. It'sthis theme and other ideas like it that would, I think, bore children who might beat first attracted by it Hoban's language is uncompromisingly adult, full of philosophical ideas.  The Mouse and His Child are also in search of something callled 'The Last Visible Dog', being a reference to a picture on a tin of dog food depicting a series of recurring pictures of a dog growing ever smaller with each repetitiion.  The book is obviously an allegory or metaphor for Life.  I think Hoban has written an adult book which only seems like a child's book in the form which best suited his literary purposes.

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