The city of Hamburg has become a prison for its smallest citizens. Where once they ate their fill and ran the streets freely, the invention of the mousetrap has forced mice underground. Some flee by ship, but the ports are now guarded by cats, and owls watch from every steeple. One mouse has a revelation when he sees bats flying overhead: They’re little more than mice with wings, so who’s to say a mouse can’t fly? The adventures in Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse are ready for takeoff.
Author and illustrator Torben Kuhlmann shows off the mouse’s many failed attempts at flight, which resemble the first real flying machines. The mouse risks capture, sneaking into toy boxes to steal a spring or wire. The illustrations capture the panoramic views of a train station or city street, as well as the intimacy of an inventor’s workroom, complete with design sketches, prototypes and teeny-tiny mouse tools. These scenes are largely dark, both with night and fog, which makes the yellow eyes of predators a shock when they appear.
At 96 pages this is an involved tale, leading up to the mouse’s transatlantic flight and eventual resettling in New York, where his aeronautic feats inspire a young Charles Lindbergh. The stories play against each other well and should keep young kids riveted to the adventure, while older ones may be inspired to craft their own inventions.
When Lindbergh lands safely, all is well. This book is a nice introduction to the history of flight, but also a great lesson in creative inspiration and the way it can come from the most unexpected places.
Heather Seggel reads too much and writes all about it in Northern California.