so when this wonderful knitted mouse arrived on my birthday and i was thinking about what to name him, i decided he was definitely a Sylvester - partly because he reminded me of a french book i'd had as a kid about a mouse with that name. or so i thought. i still had the book but hadn't looked at it in years. when i found it, sure enough there was this intrepid mouse character wearing only a scarf, just like my mouse. but i was totally surprised to see that the book was called "Julienne - the Mouse Musician". as much as i wanted that connection for my mouse and this book, Julienne was definitely not the right name for my new friend.
i'd not looked at the book in years and enjoyed all over again the classic perfect illustrations by N.M. Bodecker. i reread it the best i could with my french lessons long gone. it's such a fun (& relevant) story (originally published in 1961).
Julienne lives in a meadow and enjoys all the other critters who live there, and he especially loves all the different sounds and music he hears in nature.
by and by, Humans come along and ruin everything - they plow up the meadow and build a development. you don't need to know French to make out the meaning of "un grand bulldozer"!!
Julienne is displaced and goes into the town to find somewhere to live. finally he hears music coming from a shop and goes inside and finds his perfect house inside a guitar. at night he makes music by strumming the strings on his "door" and passersby hear the lovely music.
the shop owner is mystified - with his bad eyesight and in the dark he doesn't see the little mouse.
eventually, the perfect person purchases the guitar and things work out spiffily. maybe you can find the book in your library system to see more of the wonderful illustrations and to read the whole story.
realizing it was not a french book after all (which i assumed as a child of course) i went on amazon looking for the english version, and here was my big surprise:
in the english version, the mouse's name is Sylvester!!!
how can that be?
i don't think i could have possibly known that....
very strange...but so satisfying - now everything wraps up into the perfect package i was imagining.
sometimes life is nice like that.