Friday, June 15, 2007


Young, Ed.1992. SEVEN BLIND MICE. New York: Puffin Books. ISBN 9780606246712

Seven blind mice venture out one each day of the week to explore a strange new something by their pond. Each returns with only their partial description of the something. It isn’t until the seventh mice, the only female I might add, explores the whole something and combines the partial descriptions into a whole description of the elephant.

There are so many subtle lessons in this book, I discover a new one each time I read it. The paper collage illustrations are profound and stand out vividly, as does the simple white text, on the dark black background. The book begins with a lesson on perception when only the tails of the primary colored mice are revealed on the first page. Next a piggy-backed stack of mice venture out one-by-one to explore the elephant-something. Needless to say, their limited interpretations of the something are colored as they are—red pillar, green snake, etc. It isn’t until the seventh day that the white mouse, the female ventures to explore the whole. (Isn’t it amazing that when all the primary colors of the spectrum are reflected one perceives white.)

Caldecott Honor Book

Kirkus starred (1992)
A many-talented illustrator (Lon Po Po, 1989, Caldecott Medal) uses a new medium--collage--in an innovative reworking of "The Blind Men and the Elephant," with splendid results: a book that casually rehearses the days of the week, numbers (ordinal and cardinal), and colors while memorably explicating and extending the theme: "Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole."

School Library Journal (April 1992)
K-Gr 3-- A real winner, on many levels. The first impression is visual delight. Brilliant colors and varied textures of paper collage are placed in striking contrast against velvety black pages.

This book could be used for lessons including colors, cardinal and ordinal numbers, days of the weeks, not to mention the lesson with which the story ends: “Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.”

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