Bernelly & Harriet: The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
. Little, Brown and Company . Boston
PZ8.2.D23 Be 2002 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a contemporary development of what many take to be the central thrust of TMCM, namely that each is happiest in her or his own element. The adaptation to contemporary life is enjoyable. Bernelly lives in the country and is a fly-fishing instructor. During the winter she ties beautiful flies, and during the summer she teaches fly-fishing. A leak in her boot leads her to visit her city cousin Harriet. Life in the city seems mouse-sized, down to the trolleys. Harriet is a painter who paints masterpieces in the winter and travels around for inspiration in the summer. They do the town, but Bernelly wants to get back to the country's quiet. Harriet comes along for inspiration. It is not hard for a reader to sense what is coming. Harriet soon misses the bustle of city life. The last page is a fine revelation. When Bernelly asks sadly if the country has not provided Harriet with inspiration, the latter answers that it has in its own way. That is, she has created a number of cityscapes! Though the mice shop for clothes and pack them, they tend to wear almost nothing--perhaps a scarf and boots in a picture. Dahlie identifies the two mice nicely by the dark color of the country cousin and the white color of Harriet.