Mouse Bird Snake Wolf

by David Almond, published 2013

“[The Gods] did tell one another what they would make once they got back to work, if only they had the energy, and if only they had the time, but in truth their world was still unfinished, still had many gaps and spaces in it, and there was still much making to be done.”

Children's Book: Mouse Bird Snake WolfProfound. Deeply thought-provoking. And yet, seemingly just a small (80 pages) graphic novel about nothing more than three children being creative. Yet, at the end of this children’s book, I’m left in silence, wondering how to grasp the meaning of our world. Why is it created with beautiful and not beautiful things, goodness and not so good, nurturing plants and poisonous plants? Can no-so-good things be undone? All this comes to mind when I finished this very simple book about the power of creation.

Reading this children’s book is like stepping into the myth-making stories from native cultures, from ancient Greece, from imagination. This story is told  simply, in very few words, supported by magnificent illustrations on every page. It’s hard to account for the impact of a children’s book like this, hard to categorize. Is it for very young children? It could be, and they will get something out of it. But I think it would be wasted on 6- and 7-year-olds. Is it for adolescents? Simple, but they could get profound insights from it. I think this children’s book needs parental support, not because it is scary, but because it stirs the mind so strongly.

I liked this children’s book from start to finish, and hope that others can put aside their own personal beliefs about creation in order to see the message that’s being offered. We have creative power inside us, equal to the gods, and we have to acknowledge our responsibility for the world we create.

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