This is the tale of a young mouse on a journey. Christopher begins his life with his mother and siblings in a box, only to see his brothers sold to a laboratory and his sister sold to a young girl at a pet store. Christopher, too, is separated from his mother and siblings, and is sold to a young boy with the appearance of the perfect pet owner. But Christopher’s life is full of surprising adventures, as he ends up with a new owner, an amazing and almost devastating encounter with a cat, an escape and adventure in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more surprises along the way as he searches for a loving, forever home.
Words of Wisdom
Christopher receives several tidbits of advice from his mother, great for discussions and predictions along the way!
“‘Certainly the world can be grim at times,’ she told us once. ‘And yet, if we try, I think we can train ourselves to bear up under our burdens.'” (page 23)
“Escape…should be thought of only as a last resort. If you’re sure your owner is either so careless or cruel that your life is endangered, then you’ll have no choice. Look for a hole in your cage, or some other way of gaining your liberty. Once outside, you must hope good fortune will smile on you, and that somehow you will survive.” (page 25)
“With people for company, you’ll never be bored. The things they say to their friends and relatives – and the other things they say when their friends and relatives have gone. Books? College? Listen to people, study them, and you’ll end up with a real education!” (page 27)
“Soon I was to be traded or sold. I would belong to someone else, and any new owner, I was sure, was bound to be an improvement on Aubrey. Which merely proved how much I still had to learn about life.” (page 86)
“I have such an odd feeling in my bones,…..our story might end the way every story should, with singing and laughter–and a poem that says that long after our separation, Anna and I lived happily ever after.” (page 152)
1. Christopher learns many lessons from his mother, though he must leave her at a young age. What are some of the important lessons he learns?
2. How does Christopher come to decide that Freddy would be a good owner? What are the clues in the pet shop that Christopher notices?
3. Why does Christopher like to write poems? What do we learn about Christopher’s character through his poems?
4. When does Christopher first suspect that Aubrey will not be a good owner?
5. Why does Christopher decide it is better to escape and be on his own – even though freedom could mean danger and peril for him? What do we learn about Christopher’s character at this point? What kind of mouse has he become as he grown up in an unpredictable and surprising world after leaving his mother’s box?
6. By the time Christopher ends up in his “forever home” with attentive and trustworthy humans, he has learned many lessons. What are some of the lessons he has learned? What surprised you the most about his lessons and what he comes to understand about the world and the people he encounters?
7. What is your favorite Christopher Mouse poem? Explain why it is your favorite and why it is a good example of Christopher’s writing and character.
- Write your own Christopher chapter. Give him a new adventure in the museum or in Aubrey’s house, the setting is your choice! Create an exciting event for Christopher, perhaps one in which he meets a new character or has a narrow escape!
- Write a final poem for Christopher, after he is reunited with Anna. Or an epilogue for the book, telling us about his new life with Anna and wrapping up his final adventures with Aubrey, the cat, the museum, umbrella, sink, etc.!
It’s not a surprise that Christopher Mouse: The Tale of a Small Traveler won the Winner of the 2011 California Young Reader Medal (Intermediate). This is an engaging, interesting book that will entertain young readers as they ponder life from the point of view of a mouse!