Cover image for The lion or the mouse?
The lion or the mouse?
Morrison, Toni.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, [2003]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
490 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 2.9 0.5 76931.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3563.O8749 L56 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History

On Order



Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre. For all ages The second in a series of six illustrated books retelling Aesop's fables in a hip and lively manner, this book is a deft and witty send-up of a culture that sucks up to anyone with the trappings of power. The baddest in the land' cocky lion believes himself invincible until he gets a thorn stuck in his paw. Only a little mouse can help him, so the lion must indulge the mouse's greedy pride and lust for power. The mouse believes a lion's physique is all he needs to be king of the jungle, but finds it tough with only a squeak...'

Author Notes

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio on February 18, 1931. She received a B.A. in English from Howard University in 1953 and a master's degree in English from Cornell University in 1955 with her thesis on the theme of suicide in modern literature. She taught at several universities including Texas Southern University, Howard University, and Princeton University.

Her first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. Her other works include Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, Home, and God Help the Child. She has won several awards including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Song of Solomon in 1977, the Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1988, the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, the Edward MacDowell Medal for her outstanding contribution to American culture in 2016, and the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2016. She also co-wrote children's books with her son, Slade Morrison, including The Big Box, The Book of Mean People, and Peeny Butter Fudge.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. Like The Ant or the Grasshopper? BKL My 15 03, this second title in the You've Got Game series is a fractured Aesop's fable, both playful and message-driven. The best part is the action, which is visualized in wild line-and-watercolor pictures in comic-book style. In a catchy rhyme (In this place I make the laws / because, because of my mighty paws ), Lion yells about his power--until he gets a thorn in his paw. No one will help him. Hyena is on the telephone; Monkey has fruit to pick; Elephant has a date to keep. It's weak little Mouse who pulls out the thorn, and Lion is Mouse's friend for life. Then the fractured tale begins: Mouse has fantasies of power and whines to Lion for help in becoming scary. Lion meditates in solitude, Is he who wants to be a bully just scared to be himself? The message is more for adults than kids, but children may be reminded of themselves as they enjoy the farce about the triumph, the bombast, and the failure of a small creature. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

A boastful king of beasts gets a thorn in his paw and lets a timid mouse pull it. Afterward, the two reverse roles; the lion learns humility, but the mouse becomes a power-mad bully. Once again the audience must decide "who's got game," or who's in the right. Both retellings-especially the shrewd portrait of the musician-score slam dunks. All ages. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-The Morrisons extend Aesop's "Lion and the Mouse" into a hip-hop-cadenced meditation on bullying, with some role reversal. "LISTEN UP! LISTEN UP! NO IFS, MAYBES, ANDS, OR BUTS. I AM THE KING ALL OVER THE LAND. I DO WHAT I LIKE. I DO WHAT I CAN!" So roars Lion, until felled by a thorn, and Mouse squeaks a similar line, after putting Lion back on his feet. Outraged when all of the other animals only laugh, Mouse proceeds to pester Lion with complaints, until the larger animal quietly departs, leaving his house and throne to his erstwhile rescuer. Lema?tre decks Lion out in a robe, places him in natural settings-except when the scene moves indoors-and supplies hand-lettered text and dialogue to go with the cartoon panels. After leaving Lion sitting alone asking, "Is he who wants to be a bully just scared to be himself?" the artist then closes with a puzzlingly disconnected sequence of frames involving the mouse, Lion's throne, and a buglike creature. Morrison's celebrity status may sell the book, but this patchy, illogical episode isn't likely to sell many readers on its lesson.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.