The Lion and the Mouse

March 23, 2011

Fairy tales and fables offer children a tangible understanding of basic morals and important life lessons. As feelings of empathy and kindness solidify during the preschool years, it is fun to find stories that reinforce these important values and character traits. Aesop's The Lion and the Mouse depicts pertinent and age-old lessons that come to life through the actions of a beastly lion and a tiny mouse. 

After the lion spares the life of the little mouse, he does not think the tiny rodent will ever be able to return his kind gesture. The King of Beasts is shocked when, in the end, the mouse frees him by chewing through a net of ropes that has ensnared the lion. Children learn that "no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted" and that no matter how small you are, you can help and make a difference.

The relevant morals of Aesop's The Lion and the Mouse are reiterated in a similar fable involving a lion with a thorn in his paw and a boy who is escaping slavery. Read Androcles and the Lion for another version by Aesop that shows how a young boy can be brave and kind even in the face of a terrifying beast.  In fact, the messages in Aesop's famous fable are so strong and self-evident that Jerry Pinkney's The Lion and the Mouse needs no words.  The award-winning illustrations bring the characters and their actions to life while leaving young readers with a sense of pride and empowerment.  Children will certainly enjoy "reading" this version to you and sharing with you ways they have helped someone bigger and stronger than themselves.

A slightly more modern version is the retelling in Bernadette Watts' The Lion and the Mouse. Soft, full-page illustrations are complemented by black and white frame-by-frame graphics of the story unfolding.  For even more fable fun, play Arlo Guthrie's song "The Lion and the Mouse" and sing your way through kindness and bravery with your favorite little pal.




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