The other week I was googling for an image of a book that I had picked up from the library. I have no idea why, but when I googled A Breath of French Air by H E Bates it came up with an image of a book called The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse by Susanna Davidson. It is even stranger given that today when I searched again, there was no sign of the mouse book! As soon as I saw the title it instantly bought back childhood memories of reading that book! A quick visit to the library catalogue and it was on it's way to me.
Except, when I got the book, it was clear that this wasn't the book that I remembered. The story was very similar but the pictures were definitely not the ones I remembered at all. Then, I looked at the copyright date. 1987. I have always been a pretty eclectic reader but I am pretty sure that I wasn't reading picture books at 16 years of age.
So how is it that the story was the same as I remembered but nothing else? It turns out that The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse is one of Aesop's tales and there are lots and lots of versions of the story (and I only really looked for the ones that are known by that title). There are likely many more that take the story as its basis. On my library catalogue alone there are five different versions, including two that have copyright dated of 2011 and 2012. Here are just some of the covers for this one story that I found.
The Helen Ward book that is in the bottom row stands out in that it is the only one of the covers that I found that featured real mice and that is one that has been released in the last couple of years
There are lots of Aesop's tales that have made their way into our childhood stories and into cultural references, for example, the hare and the tortoise. I was surprised to learn though that we can quite easily access hundreds of them.
And the copy that I remember from my childhood....
Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen and Putting Alice Back Together by Carol Marinelli
All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming