Lindbergh: The Tale of a—what?! Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

Author/illustrator: Torben Kuhlmann
English text by: Suzanne Levesque
Publisher: NorthSouth Books, Inc, 2014
Suitable for ages: 4-adult (It’s gorgeous!!!)
Content: Although the story is fiction, Kuhlmann includes a few paragraphs about the history of aviation and Charles Lindbergh at the back of the book. There’s also a foreword by a curator from the U.S. National Air and Space Museum.

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Oh my goodness, folks. You know how you can take one look at a book and fall in love at first sight? Well, it happened.

Lindbergh is a bookish little mouse who lives in a country across the sea. In fact, his curiosity leads him to disappear for months at a time to study great works of literature written by humans. When he returns, he finds his world completely changed. The mice that used to overrun his city have disappeared and been replaced by mechanical contraptions that threaten his existence.

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 11.52.25 PMFull disclosure: An illustration shows a mouse caught in one of these death traps, but it’s very—ah—tastefully depicted in sepia tones. No blood and guts. But if you’re Mike Allegra or have little ones who are not ready for Grimm’s Fairy Tales (the author is German, after all), you may want to put your hand over that page.

Now, back to our hero:

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Terrified for his life, Lindbergh devises a plan to escape to America, only to be thwarted repeatedly in his efforts. But this plucky little rodent (that’s for you, Mike) won’t give up. He’s an inventor extraordinaire, a mouse da Vinci!

Will Lindbergh succeed?

You’ll need to pick up this lusciously illustrated book to find out. Think Steampunk meets Hugo Cabret’s visual feast! My son loved the detailed pictures of contraptions as well as the ominous cats and owls that stalk Lindbergh at every turn.

Who’s this mysterious debut author/illustrator? Kuhlmann has been interested in the history of aviation and mechanical contraptions since he was a wee spright. He’s now a 24-yr-old art school graduate who studied illustration and design at the University for Applied Sciences in Hamburg. This book is his senior project.

This young punk is brilliant! He reimagines the spark that inspired Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic, then brings his idea to life in this book. And the rest, they say, is history.

Caldecott, anyone?

You can see more of Kuhlman’s work at his website: Torben Kuhlmann

(Amazon provides a large sampling of illustrations from the book. But please order from an independent bookstore if you have that option.) 
 
This post is in response to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

52 thoughts on “Lindbergh: The Tale of a—what?! Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. heylookawriterfellow says:

    A plucky little rodent you say?

    I am in love with the story you describe (and those illustrations!). I love steampunk! And Hugo Cabret!

    And I am pro rodent protagonists! (Or as the hip kids say “Prodent Protags.”)

    So I shall do my best to get past the tasteful, sepia-toned mouse death. In short, I will add this book to my Christmas list.

  2. Lady Fancifull says:

    Ominous cats! One of mine is planning on disembowelling the keyboard, even as I type. However,…if those ominous cats come to any sort of bad end, I may not be able to handle this one. As I child, I HATED Tom and Jerry carttoons as I always felt the poor cat’s pain when he got his no doubt deserved come-uppance. But still

  3. FictionFan says:

    It’d odd, but though I can cope with multiple human victims in gruesome serial killer novels, the mere idea of a wee mouse in a trap gives me the horrors. I’ve never been able to read animal books since, aged 4 I think, I came across a double-page spread of a foal watching his mummy being taken away in a horsebox. I cried, and cried, and cried and…well, you get the picture! The foal was called Stormy… *sniffles*

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, those young ‘uns who do such fabulous work right out of the starting blocks are dazzling. But then, he’s been working on his art since he was a child. Clearly, he’s put in his 10,000 hours already. 😀

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes! His passion is evident in every fine illustration. And the story is lovely, too. The language the translator uses has a very magical fairy tale feel that dovetails nicely with the story’s premise. It’s an amazing debut.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes, I think we may start seeing that more and more. The fictional elements help keep young readers engaged, and the back matter adds the nonfiction learning experience for those who want to know the real scoop. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Mrs. P says:

    You got me right from the start with the title. I am a big fan of intelligent mice…my earlier favorite book was Herman the Great, Herman also was very intelligent…and famous! No kids around that age in this house, but hey…I think I might like it. 😀

    I love the fact that the author chose to write a children’s book for his senior project.

    I see it’s snowing now. 😀 The last time I saw snow in the Bay Area, I lived in Mountain View and was 14 years old. 😀

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yippee! I knew you were “prodent,” right along with Mike. 😀 It is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages, so I say you might want to wander down to your local bookstore and order a copy, if they don’t have it in stock. I think this guy has a very promising future. Definitely one of those “20 under 30” authors that publishers like to highlight.

      Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is sooo delightful! We’re heading to mountains in two weeks. I hope it’s still there when we go!

      • Mrs. P says:

        I am so glad you like snow! Rick is from upstate and he moved to Florida to get away from the cold. The only time I will see snow is if I go with someone else. So have lots of fun so I can enjoy it vicariously.

        • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

          Will let you know how our snow adventure goes. I’m not sure I could ever live in Florida. We spent a couple of months in Key West in the summer quite a few years ago. It was enjoyable, but I don’t think I could stay there for long.

          • Mrs. P says:

            Surprisingly, I love it! But there are some big down sides, We have an abundance of water but most of it is unswimmable due to alligators, sharks or flesh eating bacteria! Sounds like a horror show, right? The ocean is the safest until the weather heats up and lowers the temps enough for the bacteria to live.

            It lacks culture and diversity, One must travel an hour to get a taste of anything…unlike the Bay Area where you are surrounded by it.

            One of the things I enjoy most about my visits to your state is seeing my friends, the hills and mountains. The only thing here is FLATNESS. Garrison Keillor once described California as having voluptuous curves and at the time I thought it was funny, now I think it was a perfect description of it’s geography. I miss it’s voluptuous curves…often.

          • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

            Voluptuous. Perfect. And yes, I understand about the culture and diversity. Not our cup of tea. But we did enjoy the alligators and sharks as we kayaked through the mangroves. Small sharks, mind you. 😀

          • Mrs. P says:

            How can you kayak in waters with gators? If the gator decides he’s hungry, that kayak would offer very little protection. I wouldn’t mind seeing them from an airboat, though. 😀

          • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

            Perhaps I was younger and stupid. Or I believed the notion that alligators don’t bother adults, just small mammals. Crocodiles being the ones you’ve got to watch out for. That said, my husband swam across the Zambezi River (in an area known for crocs) with a load of video equipment when he was filming white water kayaking. He had no other choice, though.

  5. Ste J says:

    Hugo Cabret meets steam punk, I like it. I do love books like this, in fact a lot are underrated and so it is good that you are bringing them to our attention. This is something great to look for for Christmas in amongst all the dross of celebrity and novelty books.

  6. Celine Jeanjean says:

    This book is stunning! The illustrations are beautiful (I had a look on Amazon) – and I love the idea of the story. How amazing that this was his senior project. I’m going to have to get a copy, there’s nothing like getting your hands on a beautiful book. Thank you for this very sweet recommendation!

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