The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley

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The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A reissue of Graham Oakley's classic tale of a church mouse and meek cat who work together to stop a burglar. It's a timeless story that a whole new generation will love. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Templar
ISBN: 978-1840116106

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Arthur the church mouse lives in peace with Sampson the meek church cat, but he gets lonely from time to time. He hits on a great idea: he'll invite all the other mice of the town to come and live with them. The parson agrees, as long as they agree to do a few odd jobs around the place. Then one day, a burglar breaks in and there's no-one around to stop him but Arthur, Sampson and the mice...

The Church Mouse was first published in 1972, and has produced a series of fourteen books. It's easy to see what made them such loved stories: they're sweet and warm, with a fun cast of characters. Children can picture the adventures going on in their home town, and there's a magical sense of wonder about a world where animals talk to each other in a realistic settings. There's a gentle sense of humour throughout, with the big-headed schoolmouse providing great comic relief.

Graham Oakley's illustrations have a lovely traditional air about them. Children will have loved them forty years ago, and the children of those children will love them just as much now. It's a timeless book and doesn't feel dated in the slightest. You'd love Sampson the cat to curl up on your lap. Even if rodents aren't really your cup of tea, Arthur and chums are loveable scamps whose adventures you're dying to be part of. Words and pictures are in perfect harmony.

The story is longer than the average picture book, but it is suitable for all ages. It's ideal for children on the cusp of reading for themselves - there's a deeper story that will grab their attention from page one and keep them enthralled right through to the end. The vocabulary is clear and direct, but there are a few amusing references for older readers, courtesy of the schoolmouse, which makes it suitable for a wide range of ages.

Having also read The Church Mice Adrift in the series, I can confirm the quality remains as high throughout. They work as standalone books, but fans will want to read about all Arthur and Sampson's adventures. Start with The Church Mouse and work your way through them all. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

If you're looking for more mousey adventures, The Happiest Man in the World or the Mouse Who Made Christmas by Mij Kelly and Louise Nisbet and A Visitor For Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton are great fun. For cat-based reading, check out Trixie The Witch's Cat by Nick Butterworth and A Cat Called Scratch by Jonathan Long and Korky Paul.

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Buy The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Church Mouse by Graham Oakley at


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