| Picture Books & Early Readers | | About Aaron’s Kid Books | | Aaron’s Home Page |
| Search | | New | | Flash! | | Rights | | Contact | | Subscribe |

Honored by the New York Public Library!

The Princess Mouse

A Tale of Finland

Book illustration

Told by Aaron Shepard
Illustrated by Leonid Gore

2003 New York Public Library’s “100 Titles for Reading and Sharing”

In Mikko’s family, young men find their sweethearts by cutting down a tree and following where it points. As his father says, “That’s how we’ve done it, and that’s how we always will.”

Though Mikko’s brother makes his tree fall how he wants, Mikko’s tree seems to have ideas of its own. So, what is Mikko to do when it sends him into the forest and all he finds there is a mouse? And what if the mouse offers gladly to be his sweetheart, and even passes the test that is set by Mikko’s father?

This sweet tale from Finland shows that even a mouse can be special, and that trees may well fall true.

Picture book • Ages 4–12

Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of The Baker’s Dozen, The Sea King’s Daughter, The Monkey King, and many more children’s books, while his Web site is known internationally as a prime resource for folktales, storytelling, and reader’s theater. Once a professional storyteller, Aaron specializes in lively retellings of folktales and other traditional literature, which have won him honors from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Folklore Society.

Leonid Gore is the Russian-born illustrator of numerous acclaimed picture books.

Simon & Schuster/Atheneum

Hardcover ~ 2003

Paperback ~ 2008

Other Editions

U.K.—Simon & Schuster UK, 2003

Korean—Little Land

The following links may earn commissions for this site.

Book cover


“Magical events and a moral dilemma give this Finnish tale its staying power. Gore’s distinctively angled figures deepen the folktale feel. The northern spring can almost be felt.”—Publishers Weekly, Dec. 9, 2002

“The language is bright and cheery throughout, with the kind of repetition children and storytellers love. . . . Prettily told, with sweet lessons about love and trust, no matter how odd the circumstances.”—Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 15, 2002

“Shepard’s charmingly droll version combines classic elements with unexpected, witty details. . . . The jewel-toned art has beautiful luminescence; the elongated, somewhat blocky look of the characters reinforces the fantasy; and the mice are downright irresistible. . . . Quirky, enjoyable, and easily adapted for storytime.”—Shelle Rosenfeld, American Library Association Booklist, Feb. 1, 2003

“Shepard does his usual capable job of retelling this old tale in clear, simple, yet effective prose. . . . A pleasant, attractive addition to folklore shelves.”—Grace Oliff, School Library Journal, Feb. 2003

“[A] cozy adaptation. . . . The marital preparations of characters human and rodent are appealingly handled, and the tone of the text itself is successfully humorous.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Mar. 2003

“An interesting story and one young readers will delight in hearing over and over again. . . . Parents will enjoy this story as much as their children.”—Bob Walch, Monterey County Family, Apr. 2003

“Like all fairy tales, there’s more than the obvious here. . . . A good book to have in the school library.”—Connie Neil Fisher, Territorial Tattler, Aug. 2003

“A satisfying tale. Luminous illustrations.”—Marilyn McPhie, The Story Bag, Apr.–May 2004

Sample Text

Mikko walked through the forest for hours without seeing a soul. But at last he came to a cottage deep in the woods.

“I knew I’d find a sweetheart!” said Mikko. But when he went inside, he saw no one.

“All this way for nothing,” he said sadly.

“Maybe not!” came a tiny voice.

Mikko looked around, but the only living thing in sight was a little mouse on a table. Standing on its hind legs, it gazed at him with large, bright eyes.

“Did you say something?” he asked it.

“Of course I did! Now, why don’t you tell me your name and what you came for?”

Mikko had never talked with a mouse, but he felt it only polite to reply. “My name is Mikko, and I’ve come looking for a sweetheart.”

The mouse squealed in delight. “Why, Mikko, I’ll gladly be your sweetheart!”

“But you’re only a mouse,” said Mikko.

“That may be true,” she said, “but I can still love you faithfully. Besides, even a mouse can be special! Come feel my fur.”

With one finger, Mikko stroked the mouse’s back. “Why, it feels like velvet! Just like the gown of a princess!”

“That’s right, Mikko.” And as he petted her, she sang to him prettily.

“Mikko’s sweetheart will I be.

What a fine young man is he!

Gown of velvet I do wear,

Like a princess fine and rare.”

Sample text copyright © 2003 Aaron Shepard. Top illustration courtesy of Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. Illustration copyright © 2003 by Leonid Gore.

| Picture Books & Early Readers | | About Aaron’s Kid Books | | Aaron’s Home Page |
| Search | | New | | Flash! | | Rights | | Contact | | Subscribe |