Mabela the Clever


My daughter came home from school recently singing the praises of this book they read in music class. Curious, I checked it out from the library, and learned it was originally a folktale from Sierra Leone. This book offers some seriously sage advice, not just for the mice of the story, but for life in general. 

Mabela is a clever little mouse amongst a village of mostly foolish mice. Her father always tricky her a few important things; 1). When you are out and about, keep your ears open and listen. 2). When you are out and about, keep your eyes open and look around you. 3). When you are speaking, pay attention to what you are saying. And 4). If you have to move, move fast! 

One day, a cat appears in the village, claiming he would like to invite all the mice to join the secret Cat Society if they follow him into the forest. The Cat lines up the mice single file, and the mice gamely March off, with the Cat trailing the pack. One by one, the Cat picks off the mice, who are blithely singing and marching along. Following her father’s advice, Mabela begins to consider the oddities of this arrangement, and uses her cleverness to foil the Cat’s plan. 

My daughter was delighted at reading this book again and again, explaining how in music class they’d read and re-enacted the story to music, the notes of which are listed on the title page.

I love finding new books, especially ones that have some convey life lessons and astute wisdom in a way that’s appealing to kids.

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