“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Monday, March 26, 2012


by Orel Protopopescu ▪  illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
Available now   FSG/Macmillan Kids   Ages 4 - 7 
Story:  Thelonious the mouse has got so much rhythm in him he can’t help letting it out. To his family’s horror, he won’t stop scatting and shimmying around the house, teasing deadly Fat Cat instead of collecting crumbs like the rest of them. But just as Thelonious's games become too dangerous, he find a most unexpected musical partner in this jaunty picture book with art and text that truly sing!
Story behind the story:  
Dear Reader,

Wrap your tongue around the rollicking rhymes in my newest picture book, THELONIOUS MOUSE, and you'll soon be scatting to the beat of his dancing feet. This jazzy mouse risks his tail and more to fierce Fat Cat, because Thelonious has "too much music in him to stuff into a mouse hole." Teased for being different from other mice, Thelonious dares all to let his music out, even when Fat Cat is "in the air, claws screaming, teeth gleaming!" Yet beneath the sometimes scary hilarity, young readers will discover a vital message: It takes courage to be all we can be. 

My little mouse is named for Thelonious Monk, American composer and jazz pianist, who showed that creative courage. Now, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, I hope my book would have made him smile. 

I'd love to hear how your read-aloud went, so visit my website and let me know!

Happy Reading, 
Orel Protopopescu 


"Children will cheer for this rascally oddball revel." —Booklist 

"Replete with scat-y, cat-and-mouse-y wordplay, this is giggle worthy fun." —Kirkus Reviews 

"Getting the beat and the tongue-twisting phrases just right takes some practice, but the outcome is well worth the effort." —School Library Journal 



Linda B said...

I adored the book-from the great sketches to the language in the book. It's a fantastic book to use for idioms, descriptive language, plot, inference, verbs...You name it! It's there. The story is adorable with a few twists and turns in the plot, and will keep the students guessing. I give it a five out of five!

PLLoggerR said...

Thelonious Mouse by Orel Protopopescu and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf is an adorable, jazzy book. Thelonious Mouse just can't stop tapping and jazzing his way around the house, much to his parent's worry and the cat's joy. You'll work your tongue and tap your feet with the interspersed jazzy lines as Thelonious keeps the beat. But the cat isn't far behind!

A Picnic Basket 4.

Becky, Director Peacham Library

Mrs. Null said...

I am always a sucker for an impish rodent, so Thelonious had me from the cover. His hipster cool cat ways and his need for tip tappin' feet and throwing out words rolling like beats, offers the ideal model for the writing trait of Sentence Fluency. "Will sly mouse live to sing alonious? Thats the twist in this tale of Thelonious!" Two thumbs up for the beautiful and unique illustrations. Did Anne paint on newspaper? I am loving this faint appearance of newsprint in places like the cat's paws and the mouse's tail. Several really creative collage techniques embellish the full-bleeds, double-page and single page spreads. I really appreciate how the art work supports the movement of the text, starting with the floating music notes on the title page, and appearing throughout, with cat snacks bouncing, and furniture being knocked over. An effective pairing of words and images, and a book that is fun to reread, making it a helpful tool in building reading fluency. The beatnik vibe of this read aloud could earn it's place in a poetry study or an introduction to jazz, rock, and blues.


Julia Pitau said...

Yeah for Thelonious Mouse! A nice rhyming book with fun illustrations (it reminds me of newspaper print that has been painted over). A great read-aloud book for the young and young at heart.

Picnic Rating: 4

Denair Charter Academy

Heather S. Hill said...

"Thelonious Mouse" is a fun story that a music teacher could easily bring to life with jazzy, scatting beats. I loved that by the end, both Thelonious and Glad Cat were busy grooving! The illustrations, with newsprint embedded in, are unique and add another layer to the book. A great addition to any collection of read-alouds.

This is a 5 out of 5 in my picnic basket.

Lemon the Duck said...

Thelonious Mouse by Orel Protopopescu and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf is a fun, rhythmical story with a feel-good ending.
The text guides the reader for a smooth, yet musical read.
The illustrations and text work well to create an overall sense of fun and whimsy.
Music teachers and classroom teachers alike can use this book for prosody, tempo, vibrant verbs, lively language...and the beat goes on!
This is a great read aloud book that gets better with each visit.
I give this a 5 out of 5 for read alouds.
Laura Backman
Hathaway School

Anonymous said...

Rhythm and beat wrapped around a fun story. Good as a model for word choice and idioms.