Module 6: Mr. Maxwell’s Mouse

mr maxwells mouse

Book Summary:

Mr. Maxwell goes to dine for lunch at Paw and Claw restaurant.  Instead of ordering his usual baked mouse, he opts for a live one to celebrate his recent promotion at work.  A lively lunch with a very accommodating mouse ensues.  That is until his “lunch” creates  a diversion and makes a break for it.  Hilarity ensues!

Asch, F. (2004).  Mr. Maxwell’s mouse. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press Ltd.


I love this book more for the illustrations than for the text.  They were produced in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter creating a very detailed and graphic appearance with a realistic style.  The story appears to be set in the 1930s or maybe the 1940s and the restaurant reflects a formal, up scale setting.  The colors are very dark and subdued creating the perfect foil for the little white mouse appearing on Mr. Maxwell’s plate a few pages in.

I also enjoyed the story even though it was a little gruesome to think of conversing with one’s lunch before diving in to devour him!  I guess the color palette chosen also was a good choice for the impending doom of Mr. Maxwell’s lunch.  (SPOILER ALERT!!) I figured the story would have a happy ending and it does, so that was another point in favor of this clever book. Fortunately,  Mr. Maxwell had become too civilized  too do the deed himself allowing the mouse to pull a fast one and get away.

Professional Review:

“Gr. 2-4. Mr. Maxwell–actually a fashionably dressed feline–has received a promotion at work. To celebrate, he repairs to his favorite restaurant, the Paw and Claw, for a luncheon of fresh mouse. How fresh? Well, the critter is still alive when it’s delivered to the table, and, moreover, it’s in the mood for conversation. Most children will recognize this for the delaying tactic it is, but Mr. doesn’t have a clue. Not, that is, until–a bit squeamish about ingesting such a lively entree–he is persuaded by the mouse to don a blindfold. Then things become, well, painfully clear. There’s something a little creepy about this story and the elegant, computer-assisted pictures that accompany it. Maybe the cats look a bit too human (they have hands instead of paws), or maybe it’s the idea of chatting up your lunch. Whichever, this is one of those books that incites the kind of frisson that certain children will enjoy more than adults who, like this reviewer, are as squeamish as Mr. Maxwell.”

Cart, M. (2004, October 1).  [Review of the book Mr. Maxwell’s mouse, by F. Asch]. Booklist 101(3), 328. Retrieved from

Library Uses:

Ok- so this may be reaching, but I thought if a library has a computer lab, what about using this book as a way to introduce the Adobe Photoshop and Corel Paint programs (or something similar) and have patrons create original works of art or maybe even a short illustrated story depending on time and resources.  I think this would be best suited to upper elementary or maybe middle school.  I think they would appreciate the sly humor of this book and also be interested in learning to use their computers to create art.

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Filed under 5420 Literature for Youth

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