“In a warm little burrow, deep in the ground, a family of mice had a baby. His name was Indy-Pindy.”
By the end of the first page of Kent McManigal’s new children’s book, young Indy-Pindy, The Liberty Mouse, has left his comfy burrow and set off, in the grand style of old-fashioned adventures, to make his way in the world.
The first creature he meets is a snake who soothingly assures Indy that he doesn’t need that thorn he picked up as a weapon. “I’m here to help you,” smiles sneaky-snaky Gub.
And that gives you a pretty good introduction to both the plot and the spirit of the tale.
In this picture book’s 40 or so pages, Indy-Pindy must find ways to feed, house, and defend himself without falling into such pitfalls as stealing, expecting the world to provide for him — or trusting powerful and ill-intentioned “friends” like Gub.
It’s a great little morality tale, which a parent could read to a child as young as two or three or a grandma or grandpa could give to a child of reading age as a gift.
Kent McManigal is an old online acquaintance, so I may be slightly prejudiced. But I liked the book very much.
Maybe its illustrations are never going to win a Caldecott medal, but they’re charming in a naive style. I expect they’ll appeal very much to children. (They definitely appeal to me; little Indy has a lot of soul in his eyes and considerable personality.) True, the text will never win a Newberry Award. But then, not many award-winning books are this freedom-oriented, either.
I find myself comparing it to the old (and now quite politically incorrect) fable of the Little Red Hen. The plots are very different, but both bring home important points in a creative way. My guess is that the child in your life will not merely like Indy-Pindy, but will take away important lessons in morality and love of freedom that could last a lifetime.
Available at Amazon.com (and eligible for free shipping with orders totalling $25 or more).
Or via the author’s online store.