Fine Life for a Country Mouse — A Fable by Aesop Retold and Illustrated by Susan Detwiler

[I received a review copy of this book from the author.  No other compensation was received.]

Fine Life for a Country Mouse Retold and Illustrated by Susan Detwiler













Oliver, that city mouse! He thinks he’s so fancy and sophisticated!  He thinks his city life is so much better than his cousin Tillie’s simple country living.  This is the thanks Tillie gets for being so sweet and inviting him to come visit her.  Olivier is about as much fun as a wet blanket and constantly rates his city life better than Tillie’s country life.  Seriously, he’s snotty and spoiled and won’t stop yammering on about how great his life in the city is.  When Tillie goes back to the city with Oliver to visit, she experiences greater luxuries than she has in the country — but with these luxuries comes greater dangers, too.

You might reasonably think that this book with the sweet image on the front and the title Fine Life For a Country Mouse would be a serene and a quiet bedtime book.  You’d be wrong! This retelling of Aesop’s fable had my four-year-old son on the edge of his seat as Tillie mouse encounters cars as big as dinosaurs (at least to her), narrowly being run over by a train, a dog with a gnarly snare, a viscous cat with long, sharp claws, and the vacuum cleaner (of doom).  Whew!  It’s all a bit much for Tillie.  So she decides that even though Oliver’s city life is more luxurious — it isn’t nearly as nice as her bucolic home in the country.  She heads home and all is right with her world.

This is a perfect book to read with your children before or after all the holiday visits with cousins and friends.  It’s a great book to help shield children (and maybe even ourselves) from the grass-is-greener syndrome they may experience while visiting others and seeing the different things other people have that they may not.

Susan Detwiler does a beautiful job of capturing the spirit of Aesop’s fable.  The garbage on the side of the road and the bright red car that zooms by Tillie and Oliver as they head off to the city adeptly sets the tone and reader’s expectations that maybe Oliver’s city life isn’t as great as he claims.  It’s very well done.  The detailed illustrations also provide many opportunities for children to ask questions and add their own narration.

My son wants you to know that, “The dog is really scary, but not too scary, but be prepared to hide, but you won’t need to when you read it again! Could you read it to me again?”  Suffice it to say, it’s a beautifully illustrated and exciting retelling of Aesop’s fable that my whole family loves.

Ages 3 – 5. Grosset & Dunlap.  September 2014. 32 pages. ISBN:  978-0448481548. Fiction.

Where to Get it:

You Should Read Fine Life for a Country Mouse because:

  • It has beautiful illustrations that capture the spirit of Aesop’s story.
  • It has a wonderful ending where Tillie mouse is happy with what she has!  She shuns material luxury for a simpler life.  It’s a great message, especially around the holidays.
  • Without preaching, it tackles the grass-is-green syndrome cleverly disguised as an exciting story.
  • Without preaching, it tackles spoiled-child syndrome.
  • It gives a great opportunity to talk with your child about the importance of expressing gratitude and not comparing yourself to others.
  • It addresses the core concepts of appreciating differences and family.
  • This book sets up some important learning opportunities ranging from how to be a good a guest to establishing priorities to defining happiness.  Would you choose danger and luxury over safety and serenity?
  • It’s a wonderful classic that is always a great choice when you’re wondering, “What should we read now?”

Author/Illustrator Websites:

More Reviews of this Book:

Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from the author.  No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. Pingback: A Wonderful Review of My Book | Susan Detwiler

  2. Mili_Fay

    I remember the Disney cartoon. 🙂 I have always loved the story. The illustrations in this book are amazing–reminiscent of Beatrix Potter. I’ll check it out ASAP. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

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