The Story of Jumping Mouse

ISBN: 068808740X
ISBN 13: 9780688087401
By: John Steptoe

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311 Caldecott Caldecott Honor Children Children's Books Childrens Format Picture Book Picture Book Picture Books To Read

About this book

"You will reach the far-off land if you keep hope alive within you." The words of Magic Frog give courage to the young mouse on his long and perilous journey to reach the wonderful land of legend. He faces many obstacles on his quest and sacrifices much to help others in need. But the mouse's compassion and faith in himself prove to be a source of great power...and bring him rewards even beyond his dreams.

Reader's Thoughts

Mrs. Downs

GR Level: PNOT AVAILABLEThis is a story about how a mouse sacrifices for others along his journey to the Far-Off land. As he continues on his journey the sacrifices he makes for others ends up leaving him greatly handicapped. But what will happen to Jumping Mouse?

Beth Hermes

I LOVE THIS BOOK as well as the mouse. It is a great tale to tell to all ages. The mouse gave up anything and everything when ever he met anybody in need. Even when he had nothing he still kept on to achieve his goal.


As I progressed through the story I often found myself confused about parts that were told that completely popped out of nowhere and sometimes didn't even make any sense. I wondered why these elements were in the story and why someone hadn't properly explained them to me. The ending was very random and I basically sat there and said, "What?!" I wouldn't recommend this book, it had too many random bits.*Taken from my book reviews blog:


The story of a determined mouse to get to the far away land, this story was fantastic. It is a Native American tale. The story is about a little mouse that was eager to get to the far off land. His will and determination are second to none. On his journey to the far away land, he has some setbacks, but he is determined to reach his destination. He comes across Magic frog that helps him cross the water. The frog is a great jumper and helps the little mouse on his journey. The mouse is amazed at the frog’s great skill. As they part ways little mouse thanks the frog and continues on his journey. However, his new friend leaves him with a most precious gift – his jumping skill. Now the mouse has the skill to hop like no other. He next meets a fat mouse. The two become friends and little mouse stays a while with the fat mouse. Before he realizes, he too is a fat mouse. He next meets a blind bison. The bison cannot see the path to the far off land, but he hides the mouse from the predators in the sky as the mouse hops along. Little mouse leaves his new friend, but not without bestowing on him the gift of sight. Now blind, the determined little mouse continues on his way and he meets a wolf that could not smell. Well, the wolf could not smell any predators or dangers, but he could see them. He became the mouse’s eyes to get to the far off land. Once again Little mouse part ways with his new friend, but not before bestowing on him the gift of smell. He finally arrives at the far off land, the place he had been dreaming about for so long and worked so hard to get to, but it quite disappointing because he could see the beautiful sights or smell the wonderful smells. The ending of the story is one of the best endings to a story, I have ever read. This story is wonderful for all ages because of the theme of the story. This book involves keeping one’s faith and not giving up. It relies the ideas of showing empathy to others and being good inside. Children can get to understand when you do good things, good things may happen in return. Anyone who cares to read a truly magical story with life lessons will love this book. John Steptoe received the Caldecott Award for this book.


**** Caldecott Honor (1985) **** Vibrant black and white imagery gives depth and nuance to a story of journey and discovery. Very beautiful and well deserving of the Caldecott Honor.


Jumping Mouse wants to journey to the far-off land and receives legs that help him jump twice as high from Magic Frog. The journey is far from easy. Along the way Jumping Mouse encounters creatures of all sizes who are in need and Jumping Mouse selflessly gives of himself to fulfill their needs. First he gives his eyesight to a bison. Then, he gives his sense of smell to a wolf, but both creatures are so blessed by Jumping Mouse's gifts that they help him reach the far-off land by offering him protection on his journey. Once he reaches the far-off land Magic Frog tranforms Jumping Mouse into an eagle and declares that he will always be a resident of the far-off land. Beautiful story brought to life through black and white illustrations. The animals are displayed in all their beauty and glory yet also embody a human spirit in their moments of need. Must see.

Rebekah Jones

This book is great book to use to encourage others to follow their dreams and never give up because they face difficulties. I like how the mouse puts others first and does his best to help them out. The book is of a journey and it could be related to real life and the journey humans face in reality.


a cute story about a little mouse and the things he has to give to find the solution to his problem, and becomes an wonder.

Allison Ford

This book is a Native American legend and it teaches a lesson about our differences. There is also a lesson about what you can gain from persistence. The young mouse overheard the “old ones” tell stories about the desert that was just over the river. He started to dream about the foreign land, and then finally the little mouse couldn’t stand it any longer he had to find out for his self. Once he did reach the river he didn’t know how he would get across. The rest is the mouse meeting different animals in his journey getting across the lake.


This is another picture book more suited for older children, mostly just due to the length of the text. John Steptoe wrote the text (retold from a Native American legend) and drew the illustrations. The illustrations won a Caldecott honor in 1985.I thought the illustrations were just okay. I didn't like them nearly as much as Steptoe's illustrations for Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. I think I would have liked the illustrations better in color. I didn't dislike them, but I didn't find them particularly memorable, either.I'd never heard this particular Native American legend before, so I came away with several questions. Why is the frog magic? When the frog gave the mouse the power to jump, did he lose that power himself? Why does the power to do magic transfer from the frog to the mouse? At the end, (view spoiler)[why does the jumping mouse turn into an eagle? Something to do with his unselfish spirit of hope and compassion? I don't see the connection. Is he then going to eat other mice? Isn't that what eagles do? (hide spoiler)] Maybe these aren't the types of questions you can really ask when you're reading a legend. Let's just say this one didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Barb Keister

Great story about compassion, sacrificing your own needs for that of a stranger, and meeting your own personal goal without forgetting about the people you meet along the way. Added this one to the "synthesizing" bin in my teacher resources for the important themes and use of multiple comprehension strategies needed to process this text. The cover looks rather drab, but important story!


I read this to my third and fourth graders and they applauded me at the end. The illustrations are very beautiful and the story full of emotion.


This is a great book to introduce 2nd graders to Native American traditional literature. It is a fable that has a really great moral. The mouse gives everything to help others with no selfishness. The illustrations are really vivid and lively black and whites.


Orville - It was a sad story about a jumping mouse. It was a little bit sad but it has a nice ending.


**** This picture book offers the reader beautiful illustrations which accompany a powerful story of sacrifice and compassion. I found myself wondering what was going to happen next as I read.A young mouse sets off on a long journey to reach the far-off land the elder mice tell stories of. Along the way he mets others in need who he helps and obstacles. Through it all he never forgets his ultimate goal of making it to the far-off land.Jumping mouse is a compassionate young mouse who sets out to find the far-off land. He has faith in himself and in his quest.Magic Frog helps the young mouse by giving him the name Jumping Mouse. He is wise and magical.Fat Mouse is a fat lazy mouse who gave up on his dreams long ago.Themes: self discovery, faith, compassion, rewards.Genre: Picture book, LegendsThe Story of Jumping Mouse is a Caldecott Honor Book. It is also a retelling of a Native American legend. It would be a great book to use for teaching synthesizing and questioning.

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