Anatole (50th Anniversary Edition)

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Anatole (50th Anniversary Edition) Book Poster Image
Well-aged tale of an epicurean mouse.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Anatole finds a creative, honorable way to support his family and, in return, help those who feed him.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reprint of a popular classic of the '50s is refreshingly true to the original. However, though this is a picture book with captivating illustrations, younger readers may not fully understand the story; older kids and adults will embrace the drawings, story, and message.

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Adult Written byDenga2 April 9, 2008

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What's the story?

When the French mouse, Anatole, realizes that humans dislike mice for sneaking in and rummaging around their homes for leftovers, he is adamant about finding a more honorable way to provide for his family. He comes up with an ingenuous plan for helping the Duvall Cheese Factory in exchange for cheese bits he can bring home.

When his plan succeeds, he becomes a \"respectable business-mouse,\" \"first vice-president in charge of cheese tasting,\" \"a mouse of honor,\" and a hero to the humans as well as to the mouse community. Viva Anatole!

Is it any good?

Written by the award-winning Eve Titus and illustrated by Paul Galdone, this is a magnificent book on every level. The story is heartwarming and important, the characters sympathetic, and the illustrations engaging. ANATOLE is about honor and one anthropomorphic mouse's search for self-respect. The story is simply told, but scattered with clever touches that make it uniquely genuine. Especially fun are the names of the children, the list of cheeses, and the playful insertion of French phrases that tickle the tongue.

Galdone's simple, vivid illustrations add richness that draws the reader into Anatole's world. His minimal use of color complements the unpretentious lines of his drawings, especially the features of the mice, with their rounded black eyes and delicate faces. Pages alternate between black and white sketches and those tinted with red, blue, and white of the French flag. The first of 10 Anatole adventures, Anatole was originally published in 1956 and won the Caldecott Honor award.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Anatole felt bad when he heard humans talking disparagingly about mice, and why he felt he needed to do something to earn his food. Do you agree that it's better to earn things and to give something in return for the things you get? What does it mean to have self-respect or to be honorable? Families might also talk about and try different cheeses, locate Paris on a map, and practice saying the French phrases in the book.

Book details

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