Town Mouse, Country Mouse

ISBN: 0590631683
ISBN 13: 9780590631686
By: Jan Brett

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Animals Children Children's Children's Books Childrens Fiction Kids Picture Book Picture Books To Read

About this book

The author adds new dimension to the story of two foolish couples who trade their lives for something better. Postage stamps and toy marbles become exquisite works of art in Brett's brightly illustrated story, here elevated beyond a mere cautionary tale to a classic awaiting its audience.

Reader's Thoughts

Erin R

Originally an Aesop’s fable, this story has been adapted by Jan Brett. In this version of the story, a married mice couple who live in a town long to get away on a vacation and so they go to the countryside. There they meet another married mice pair who long for the excitement and available cheese of the town, so the couples switch houses. Very quickly however, the mice discover that what they have longed for is not quite as perfect as they thought, and just not well-suited to them. Both couples face many unexpected perils due to their lack of knowledge regarding survival in their new environments. An owl chases the town couple and a cat chases the country couple, all who run past each other on the road to safety and all arrive back in their rightful homes, never again to believe that “the grass is greener on the other side”. The story cleverly ends with the owl and the cat, who have collided during their failed chase of prey, telling one another that they’d always wanted to live in the city or country, and so the reader presumes that the story starts again even though the book has ended.This story is traditional literature because of its strong use of animals with human characteristics, little development of the one-dimensional characters, and quick resolution to the conflict. It may be used in the classroom to allow middle to upper-elementary students to compare different versions of the story as there have been many over the centuries. This story could also serve as a platform for a creative writing prompt about switching lives with another person or creature.

Nick Molinet

This a classic story that i grew up with as a kid. This is the story about to couples of mice: one from the country and one from the city who want to know what its like to live in the opposite of where they live, so they trade their surroundings. Although in the beginning it is a great adventure for both couples, both couples soon start to face different challenges and little objects that they are not use to and after a while each couple starts to miss where they originally come from.LE: after the story we would have a discussion about some different cultures around the world and what those cultures do differently compared to one another and i would also share with them about my experience moving to a different country and some of the obstacles that i have faced but also the things that i love about where i live now.

Rachel Dalton

While an older book, it is still a great one to use for inferring and predicting. Written at about a third grade level, it gives lots of clues to allow students to predict. It also teaches that everyone is different.


I read this today to my fourth graders. They were a bit surprised as it was during our Social Studies lesson. I brought all the children close. I handled the reading as any other read aloud. We compared and contrasted. We discussed the narrative elements. All went well.Once I was satisfied that we truly understood the story, I rose and wrote town and country on the board. We then discussed the traits of each area. I then shared with the students that two words we struggled with last week fit into our T-chart. I then wrote urban and rural on the board.Ah, it all made sense then; the students saw the method to my madness, as it were. They hadn't really understood those terms last week, now they do. We had such a rich discussion that one of the children asked, "What does suburban mean?" A-ha!Now they understand that term too. Sometimes as a teacher you need to approach a subject from a different point of view.

Mary Ronan Drew

Town Mouse, Country Mouse (1994) by Jan Brett. The illustrations make the book, of course. The city mice encounter (and escape from) an owl and think it's a cat with wings. Jan Brett may be my favorite children's author. My favorites are The Mitten, Home for Christmas, and Mossy. The last, about a turtle who has moss and a garden growing on her shell, is brilliant and one of Elaine's favorites as well. Jan Brett has a new book out that would make a splendid Christmas present for somebody, Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella.


A bit long but she is the best illustrator

Michaela Zavala

I absolutely adored this book. THis book has a really good moral as well as beautiful illustrations. This book tells the story of two different families of mice who decide to swap where they live because they think the grass is greener on the other side. Soon enough the mice discover that there is no better place than home, and the grass isn't always greener on the other side. It is a pretty easy book to read especially with the illustrations helping the words describe what is happening exactly in the story. Jan Brett is a wonderfully talented author and illustrator who uses alot of detail in her artwork. Not only that but every time you look at her pictures you can discover something new that you hadn't noticed before.


This is the story of two mouse couples who wants to experience each other way of life; the country mice wants to live the city and the city micewants to live the country life. Neither couple knows about the new environment they were about encounter. At first they were excited about their adventure, but as they were experiencing their environment they encountered some obstacles that makes them appreciate their original home place. The illustrations in this story are very vibrant and eye-catching; also if you take a closer look you will notice that Jan Brett usually gives a little incite of what will happend next in the story. I think this story could be used to help children appreciate their own lifestyles and appreciate the different lifestyles of their peers.Learning Experience: After we have come back from a break (i.e.: winter, spring, or summer breaks) we discuss the things we did and the different places we visited. During a certain part of the year we have a big celebration of the different cultures in the class; we will call this day, "Culture Day." Each family will be asked to bring a special dish from their culture to share with the class; the family can even dress in there own cultural costume (dress). Then I will make a bulletin board ("Differences All Around Me"), which will display the different pictures from "Culture Day," so the children can be reminded of the different cultures in the classroom.

Dawn Stephens

Town Mouse, Country Mouse, Content MouseBased on Jan Brett’s Town Mouse Country MouseThis book was one that I always read to my students to help them learn about the differences in rural and urban environments. It really is about the mice discovering that they need to learn to be happy with what they have and that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The Bible also has a lot to say about us being discontented. And I’m ashamed to admit that I personally struggle a great deal with this concept. I think because I am a very determined and self driven person, I continually strive for more than I have. This trait has been a benefit to me at times because it is what drives me to achieve more and better myself. However, it has also been a fault within my relationship with God. Psalm 84:10 gives us an interesting perspective about the best place for us to live. In it David says he would rather spend one day being doorkeeper in the house of God than dwell in the house of the wicked for years. Basically he is saying it is better to just to be near God (by the door) than to live amongst the wicked or away form Him.In this story, the country and city mice focus on the things that are wrong with the places they live. I tend to do the same at times. It seems easy some days to focus on the things that go wrong in my life. I assume that others have it better. If I could only trade places with them I’d have it better. If I had that opportunity, however, we all know that I’d see that their situation isn’t any better than mine. In fact, just like the mice, I’d quickly remember how good my life was. We tend not to appreciate things until we no longer have them. In Proverbs 30:15-16, we are warned about never having enough.My struggle is in finding the balance between being content with what God has given me and is doing in my life, and then patiently waiting for Him to do more. I think the key is to measure success as God does and to be able to rest in Him. We are told to hunger and thirst for righteousness. That could indicate that a level of discontentment exists within the amount of righteousness we possess daily as Christians. Even Little Pot struggled with this as the potter emptied and filled it and it continually wanted more of something. I think the real issue is that we search for contentment in the wrong things. Even when it comes to God. We focus on the things God gives us instead of living in His righteousness. We are truly only content when we give what we have away and share with each other. Little Pot needed to learn that it wasn’t the things it would “hold” that would make it become useful. It was the ability to grow fruit and give it away.The trouble the mice have in this story isn’t just that they find their current home unsatisfying. It is also that they are unable to cope in their new homes. If they had just taken the time to visit with one another and learn form each other, they could have had the best of both of their worlds. They would have found contentment not in what they got from each place but in the fact that they helped each other.As long as I focus on me, I will remain discontented with life. If I focus on others, I will be closer to where God is. Even if I am only at the door of his awesomeness.

Tracy Connolly

The Town Mouse and his wife thought life would be better in the country. The Country Mouse and his wife thought town life would be better. When the mice meet, they decided to trade houses. Each one thought they had the better deal, but did they? Jan Brett's telling of this tale is subperb. Her ending let's the reader guess what would happen next. As in all of Jan Brett's books, her detailed illustrations are absolutely beautiful.

Alexandria Owens

I thought it was a cute book. I remember reading this book in elementary school. The two mice swap homes with one another and realize that they would prefer their everyday home. Cute book that children would enjoy.Learning Experience: I would do a T-chart and have the children come up and write things that they would find in the country or in the city . Then I would have the children pick out any similarities if any existed.

Paul Candeias

This is a classic story of seeing life through a different perspective. Jan Brett does a great job with using bright and vivid illustrations and keeping it engaging. Plus having a story of two complete opposites and having them swap lives to experience new things is a great tool for children. It helps to teach them to get out and explore new and exciting things, but that there will be obstacles along the way.Lesson: I would use this book on a culture unit and have a day to share different places/cultures among the children. We could have different foods, traditions, clothing, etc.

Michelle Cepeda

I love the idea behind the book. Two families wanting to have eachother's lives. Teaches a good lesson, with an interesting story for children to enjoy.Learning Extension: In class, the children would make a drawing of both families. One picture of the town mouse in his town house and the other of the country mouse in his country house. Then the children would talk about how they like to live and what they consider they are living in (country/town). Then we would plan two field trips, one to the countryside and one downtown so the children can see how different they are.


My daughter (four years, ten months) tells me that this book is amazing for five stars and not just a we really like it at four stars. She also says that it was great except the fox, he was a little too scary. You gotta love kid reactions. This book was an optional resource for social studies in the Memoria Press Kindergarten in the week where we read Come On, Rain! (and in science we discussed rain and the phases of the water cycle). For the social studies aspect we discussed rural versus urban lifestyle. I've read quite a few different versions of Town Mouse and the Country Mouse over the years and this was different from any other I've read, but I think I may have actually enjoyed it more than the rest. As each mouse has a wife, and there is a switch of the "grass is greener on the other side of the fence" theme rather than just visiting a cousin in other versions I know. This is a great one to show and compare. Then there are the fun and entertaining illustrations of Jan Brett. While reading through it we didn't focus on it too much, but in rereads we have poured over the pages and really pointed out things on the sidelines to see what is going on beyond just what the characters of mice are saying. Excellent book choice, as always with Memoria Press read aloud recommendations. We also have:

Brittany L.

Jan Brett is one of my favorite authors and illustrators. She takes well known stories, and brings them alive with her illustrations on every page. I could spend a long time on each page looking at the borders and pictures, and still not see everything. This is nice, because every time you read it you find something new. I would recommend her books to anyone, especially this fun tale that keeps the children laughing.

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