Britta Teckentrup, an accomplished author and illustrator is ‘responsible’ for the storytelling part of my job description the past few days. My little one keeps bringing the wonderful red book from the shelf every morning so that our day will start with it. She is probably fascinated by the size of the book, the impressive cover and the cheerful coloured-pencil illustrations that add character (compared to more modern clean digital pictures) and allow us to think that Britta created the book just for our fingers to go over the page and feel the texture. The author of Under the Same Sky and The Memory Tree has once again stole our minds and hearts.
A lovely optimistic story of the curious Little Mouse who lives inside a red bricked wall and one day starts wondering what is outside that wall. The Mouse asks the other animals but nobody seems to know how the wall got there in the first place. In fact nobody seemed to notice it. The Cat guesses that the wall is there for protection, the Old Bear does not remember, the Fox advises the Little Mouse to accept things the way they are and stop wondering with what is outside. So, when Bluebird flies over the wall one day, the Little Mouse begs it to take him over his back and help him see the world beyond the wall. As they fly away, the Little Mouse is excited with the colourful and beautiful landscape. The wise Bluebird reminds him that there will be many walls in one’s life. Some walls are built by other people but most are created by ourselves. For the walls to disappear, our hearts and minds need to be open.
The author dedicates the book to the fearless and a world without walls and my mind travels to the fact that Britta Teckentrup is a German fine artist who moved to United Kingdom to study illustration in 1988. Assuming she has grown up in Cold War and has experienced actual concrete walls dividing her country and the whole world, I trust her Little Mouse and all mice whose curiosity will lead them outside their comfort zones.
Cheers to those who will cross their red bricked wall!
Author and illustrator: Britta Teckentrup
Hardcover: 32 pages
Age Range: 2- 6 year
Publisher: Orchard Books
Year of publication: 2018