Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mouse Deer

You know about Brer Rabbit from the southern United States. You may also know about Anansi the Spider from West Africa. These animals are called “tricksters,” because they trick other animals in the stories. There are many trickster animals around the world, and stories told about one are often told about others.
Mouse Deer is the favorite trickster of Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries of Southeast Asia. But what is a mouse deer? It is an animal about the size of a cat, and it lives in the jungles of Africa, Asia, and many Pacific islands. It has the legs and the tail of a deer, and the face and the body of a mouse—but it is not really a mouse or a deer.
The mouse deer eats only plants, but lots of animals eat the mouse deer. To stay alive, it must be quick and smart. That is why the Indonesians and Malaysians have made Mouse Deer their favorite trickster. Any of their boys or girls can tell you tales about him.

We all owe a big thanks to Aaron Shepard for bringing Mouse Deer to the Web. Aaron is the award-winning author of The Legend of Lightning Larry, The Sea King’s Daughter, The Baker’s Dozen, and many more children’s books from publishers large and small. His stories have also appeared often in Cricket and Australia’s School Magazine.

Aaron’s specialty is retelling folktales and other traditional literature from around the world. His work has been honored by the American Library Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Folklore Society, the New York Public Library, and the Bank Street College of Education. His stories are enjoyed by a wide range of young readers—as well as by adults—and are perfect for reading aloud.

On the Web, Aaron maintains an extensive collection of resources for teachers, librarians, storytellers, children’s writers, parents, and kids. His site has been viewed by over seven million visitors and has drawn over 25,000 visitors a week. Among its offerings is the Web’s premier collection of free reader’s theater scripts, used in schools and libraries around the world.

An acclaimed author with real kid appeal, Aaron takes pleasure in sharing the magic of story.

To learn more about Aaron and these awesome tales, click here.

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