I didn’t have to think long or hard when I was asked if I’d like to check out a recently reprinted edition of Hickory, by Palmer Brown. I’m sure that, to some of you, this story sounds familiar. I had never heard of it or the author before. I did quite a few searches online trying to dig up information but to no avail. There is simply not much about Palmer Brown online. However, The New York Review Books apparently liked him well enough to republish all of his childrens’ titles and I have been delighted to begin reading them along with my children.
Hickory is the story of a young mouse who lives with his family in an old grandfather clock. His mother had a sense of humor so besides Hickory, her other children were named Dickory and Dock. The mice have remained in the clock for a long time because the old man to whom the clock belongs never bothers to look down when he opens the clock to wind it. The mouse family lives well off the food in the kitchen. Their father tells them that they might eat all they want but that they must “never leave paw-prints in the butter.” A happy family life had Hickory.
Still, as happy as Hickory is with his family, he really longs for adventure. He wants to explore the great outdoors and see what living in a field might be like. His mother worries for him, but she understands that the best thing her boy can do is to have adventures and go exploring. She lets him go (happy to know that she can always view the field where he intends to live from a window in the house). This book tells of Hickory’s adventures and the friends he makes along the way.
Hickory is a well-told story with a classic, homey feel to it. It makes for a cozy read aloud and both my boys and I enjoyed it. It is a remarkably short chapter book, easy enough to pass along to a newly independent reader. The illustrations (also by Palmer Brown) lend to its classic feel. In every way, this book is a delight and I have only to highly recommend it to you.
A big thank you to The New York Review of Books for sending the above title my direction in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Carrie is learning to appreciate the classics more and more as she grows as a reader. This year she is hosting a classics based online book club at Reading to Know, where she blogs of books regularly.