But Who Will Bell the Cats?

But Who Will Bell the Cats?

Book - 2009
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While a princess spoils her eight cats, a mouse and his friend, a brown bat, live on scraps in the castle cellar, but Mouse decides to place bells on the cats' necks so that he and Brown Bat might live comfortably as well. Includes the Aesop fable on which the story is based.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, c2009
ISBN: 9780618997183
0618997180
Branch Call Number: BUHLER
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill

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skyekilaen
Jun 04, 2016

This is a gorgeous retelling of an Aesop fable. von Buhler and her father built a small set in which to place her characters, which are essentially paper dolls. Then all the art was photographed. You really have to see this book, it’s so distinctive, and the cats are wonderful parodies of spoiled rich children.

forbesrachel Sep 29, 2013

Aesop's fable is expanded upon in this lavishly decorated tale of a mouse who wants some security and peace of mind. Starting with the original tale, the history of the plight of mice is established, and the solution which they so long ago thought up, is finally made possible.

All of the images are made using dollhouse objects, and paper cut-out characters. In this way, the 2D pictures pop out from its 3D environment, and is one of several ways the artist employs contrast. It is this element that is most noticeable, being used to distinguish between the lives of the cats, and the mouse and bat by splitting the page into two panels. Above-ground, the abode of the cats is colourful and ornately furnished, while the underground is drab, and poor. To further this divide, there are two distinct fonts, one is only used above, and a more scrawly one is used only when below.

With some skillful narration, the illusion of a folk tale is maintained even when modern objects like ping-pong are mentioned. In each of his attempts to bell the cats, the mouse is bravely described, just to be completely deflated on the following page. He would truly be defeated if not for his friend the bat saving him.

Long ago, the mice had thought of a clever idea, but implementing such an idea takes even more ingenuity, and determination. The answer the author comes up with is unexpected and simple, and yet does not address what would happen if the cat was to take off the bell. As a resolution, it is effective for the time being, but leaves the question of what will happen to the mouse once his security is proven false.

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