Seven Blind Mice (Caldecott Honor Book)

by Ed Young

Hardcover, 1992



Call number




Philomel Books (1992), Edition: First Edition, 48 pages


Retells in verse the Indian fable of the blind men discovering different parts of an elephant and arguing about its appearance. The illustrations depict the blind arguers as mice.

User reviews

LibraryThing member conuly
The artwork is done in stunning colors, silhouette style on black. Each of the mice (each a different color) takes a day during the week to examine the THING by their pond. As they describe it, we see a picture of what they thought they felt (a fan, a column, a snake), in their color.

The seventh
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finally understands that the THING is an elephant, by running all over the entire body instead of just a little bit.

I love the artwork. Gorgeous isn't too strong a word.
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LibraryThing member JenRobYoung
This is the story of seven blind mice that find an interesting object. Each takes a turn describing what they find, until the end of the week and the last mouse helps reveal the truth behind what they have found.
LibraryThing member michelleramos
This is a story about seven little blind mice that can each only feel one small section of an elephant. They have to guess at what it is that they are seeing. But, eventually they discover the big picture and realize that what they are seeing is an elephant. "Knowing in part may make a fine tale,
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but wisdom comes from seeing the whole." from the book.
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LibraryThing member imagrtdnlvr
This is a 1993 Caldecott honor book. This is a story about seven blind mice of different colors that find something by their pond one day. Each day one mouse goes and comes back to tell the others what they think the something is. Piece by piece, day by day, mouse by mouse you find out what the
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something is. At the end, on the last day with the last mouse she puts everything together to reveal what the something really is. I'll save the something for a surprise for the ones that have not read it yet.

I picked this book because of all the things it teaches. The days of the week are listed in order, colors are used for the mice, and number order is also used. I like how the plot slowly reveals one piece at a time, this kept my children interested as I read it to them.

I would use this as an extension to introduce colors, days of the week, and number order. I would have the children think of an animal and then reveal it to the class piece by piece until we guess what it is. I would also use various pictures of things up close to see if the children could figure out what they were.
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LibraryThing member swilson722
This fable of 7 blind mice who each feel a different part of an elephant & think it's something else is much like the earlier story of 3 blind men & an elephant. It is an engaging tale for young children & is suggested for grade levels of k-3. It is beautifully illustrated with each mouse depicted
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with a different color & was a 1992 Caldecott Award winner.
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LibraryThing member Bbanach
This book is about 7 blind mice who come across an unknown object. Day by day, one by one, they attempt to figure out what the object is. Finally on the last day, the last mouse puts everyone's observations together to figure out what the object is.

I found this book to be very interesting. I liked
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the descriptiveness of it. I like how it explains that you will never truly see something, unless you look at it in its entirety.

I could hide an object in a box, with a hole cut out in it. One by one, I could have the children reach in and touch it. Then they could come up with descriptions, and then put those observations together to figure out what the object is.
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LibraryThing member csweat
This is a cute story about seeing things as a whole, instead of individual parts. It took all seven perspectives to see and figure out what the something was. The seven blind mice were very colorful. Each color mouse only saw things in their own color.
I know I have to be careful to take things as
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a whole instead of jumping to the wrong conclusion. I think the wisdom taught in this story will help the children to learn to see the whole picture better. The younger they learn this concept the better off they will be be.
In the classroom, I would have the children make binoculars out of 2 toilet paper rolls glued together. On the end, they could put colored saran wrap with a rubber band on it. I would have close up pictures of common things and see who could figure out what it was.
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LibraryThing member emgalford
Young, E. (1992). Seven blind mice. New York: Philomel Books.

In Ed Young’s Seven Blind Mice, the author retells a classic Indian fable in which seven blind mice set out to discover the large creature at the pond. Every day, one mouse sets out to “see” what is at the pond. Each day they come
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back with a distorted image of the creature’s body parts. One sees a pillar, the other a rope, and so on. It is not until the seventh mouse goes to the pond in search of the entire creature do they discover what is really there. At the pond lives a large elephant. It is only because the last mouse searches for the whole creature does he get to see it. All the other mice searched only for bits and pieces of the creature, and they were not able to see anything but a distorted image of it. This story is a classic Indian fable so people of all ages and places can relate to it. This is a story that has been told through many generations of Indian people and will continue to be retold through retellings such as this one. This story teaches its readers the important lesson that you should not judge someone or something until you get to know them because you cannot properly see something until you look for everything and not just the pieces.

This would be an excellent book to use with young elementary school students when teaching about the importance of not “judging a book by its cover.” This could also be used when doing a unit about fables and fairy tales. This would be an excellent example of a multicultural fable. Students could compare and contrast the characteristics of fables from different cultures.
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LibraryThing member petrong
Caldecot Honor Book
This is very nice retelling. I enjoyed the black backgrounds with the paper cutout illustrations and differently colored mice.
LibraryThing member NemaGuoladdle
The book is about blind mice who find a Something at the pond. They argue through the days of the week what the Something is as they discover separate parts of the Something. After days of arguing they find out the Something is an elephant.
The headstart kids I read to also liked this book. I asked
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them pointed questions about each illustration and what they thought the Something was. They are smart because alot of them said, "An elephant! It's an elephant!"
I find this book very colorful and bright for children up to possibly 6 years of age. It's very engaging in that as a person reading the story could ask the listeners what they thought was going to happen next. It could possibly be used for the smaller children when also learning about geography and animals.
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LibraryThing member AshleyWard
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young

Seven Blind Mice is a big mystery! The mice come across something; each mouse touches it to try to figure out what that “something” is. They all touch different parts and guess different objects. In the end they finally uncover what they have found by looking
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at it as a whole.

Personal Reaction:
I think this is a really great book. The pictures in the book where cute and made me laugh a little. I think it would get children excited and guessing what the big picture is. It also teaches days of the week, colors, and numbers.

Classroom Extension ideas:
1. I could create mystery boxes. Students could reach in and touch objects and try to figure out what’s inside.
2. I could hold up different pictures that make up one big picture. The children could then figure out what the big picture is.
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LibraryThing member MkM
Genre: Folklore
Genre Critique: This book is a good example of traditional Indian folklore. The story has a moral ("knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole") that explains the story at the end of this simple and fast-paced plot. The characters in this plot are
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mice that learn the lesson (which is traditional to have animals doing the learning in many folklores).
Review/Critique: This book was an interesting read. I originally thought from first seeing the title it would be similar to the three blind mice story, but it was totally different. I think this book could be used in multiple ways, but it could help children see the importance of seeing the whole picture.
Media: Cut out collage, colored pencils, paint
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LibraryThing member xubibliobug
Seven Blind Mice by Ed Yong won Caldecott Honor in 1993; and the book in the audiobook CD format is on the list of ALA’s 2008 Notable Children’s Recordings.

Based on an Indian fable of blind men, Ed tells a story about seven blind mice eventually realized that “Knowing in part may make a fine
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tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole.” Seven colorful mice find a huge “strange thing”—an elephant— by their pond, and they decide to figure out what it is. From Monday to Saturday, six mice take turn to explore “the thing” and bring back wrong findings: The mice misidentify the elephant’s leg as a pillar, the trunk as a snake, the tusk as a spear, the ear as a fan…. Until on Sunday, the last mouse runs over and feels the entire elephant and realized “the thing” is an elephant!

The author/illustrator offers the reader a visual feast: the mice are as colorful as a rainbow. The pure black background makes various colorful images stand out and make the scampering mice wonderfully appear like on a screen. The illustrations are so life-like that one can feel the textures of the paper collage. The size of part of elephant and the size of the mice are placed in striking contrast.

This book will help youngsters explore the concept of color, the day of the week and the sequence of the accounting.
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LibraryThing member dangerlibearian
Good read aloud and simple, each blind mouse feels a different part of the elephant thinking the parts are the whole. Only the truly wise mouse sees the whole picture and sees the whole as a sum of its parts.
LibraryThing member rebecca8
A good book to show how perspective and lack of further research can change your opinion on something and how many people "seeing" the same thing can "see" something different. The illustrations are also very unique and keeps your attention.
LibraryThing member jromero3
Seven blind mice, each a different color, find a strange Something by their pond. Each day, one mouse at a time sets out to find what he thinks the object is. Each one feels only a part of the Something, coming up with different ideas until the turn of the last mouse. The last mouse
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realizes that it is really an elephant as she runs up, down, and all around the Something as a whole.

Personal Reaction:
I really like this book. It teaches an important moral. I think it's easy to relate to the characters in this story, whether it's the mice that only saw a "part" of the object (story) or the mouse that looked at the "whole" before judging.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
In the classroom, this book would be good to teach against spreading rumors. We could 1) watch the Veggie Tales "Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed", continuing a lesson in the power of words or 2) I could have the class identify the ordinal numbers throughout the story.
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LibraryThing member jessi1590
Award the book has received: Caldecott Honor Book
Appropriate grade level: Kindergarten, First Grade. It’s a colorful wordless book; it has easy vocabulary, dialogue, and similes. It has numbers, colors and days of the week.
This story is the about the great adventure of Seven Blind Mice of all
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different colors, who find an interesting object new to their home. As the week goes by each mouse goes on their own individual journey to discover what this new something is. Each day a mouse returns with their own version of what this new something could possibly be. Each mouse describes what they find, until the end of the week and the last mouse helps reveal the truth behind what they have found. After days of arguing they find out the something is an elephant as the last mouse runs up, down, and all around the something as a whole.
Uses in classroom:
• Math
• Days of the Week
• Sums to 7 (since there were seven mice and seven days of the week )
• Sequence of counting
• Colors
• Compare and contrast
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LibraryThing member Stephanyk
This book is a Caldecott Honor Book and is appropriate for the grades pre-k through the second grade. The book has simple pictures and short sentences that younger children can follow a long. Also students who are in the second grade should be able to read the book on their own. On each day of the
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week a different blind mice goes to explore the strange Something that is by their pond. Each time the mice come back with different descriptions. All the mice begin to argue that the Something is a rope, a snake, a fan and a cliff. Finally on the seventh day the White mouse goes and examines the whole Something and figures out that it is an elephant.
Uses in the classroom:
- For students in pre-k I would go over the days of the week with the children and also what color mouse went to explore on which day.
- I would print out pictures and cut them into squares. I would put one square up at a time and have students try to guess what the image is.
- I would put students in groups and have them blindfolded. I would give each group an object and have them guess what they are holding. To make it harder for second graders I would give each person in the group a job (smelling, touching, tasting) and have them put their results together to guess what the object is.
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LibraryThing member Calamia
The seven blind mice come across a giant elephant and each of them uses their sense of touch to figure out what the object is. Each mouse describes something different or just a part of the elaphant. The last mouse runs completly over and around and discovers that it is a giant elephant. This is a
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great story to use to describe the sense of touch or have children practice closing their eyes and using their hands to discover what an object is.
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LibraryThing member alebarbu
Young, E. (1992). Seven blind mice. New York: Philomel Books.

One day, seven blind mice find a “Something” by their pond, and set out to investigate what it is. On each day of the week, a different mouse touches the “Something” on a different area, and they all come back with a different
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idea of what it is. Not until the seventh mouse sets out to investigate the whole “Something” does it realize that it actually is an elephant. This story is a retelling of an Indian fable, and effectively conveys for children the importance of “seeing the whole” of a situation or a person.

This book is visually arresting: black pages with white text; mice and objects/animal they describe in watercolors (one color per mouse and the corresponding item it “discovers”); elephant in paper collage. The mice have white dots for eyes except the white mouse that has grey dots -maybe not coincidentally, it is the mouse that “sees” the whole picture. A great book to teach young children about colors, days of the week and numbers until 7 in addition to the moral of the story. Ages 2 to 6.

Compared to Brown Bear, this book has a newer feel in the illustrations, which makes sense since Brown Bear is much older. Also, I think the black background works better than a white background (which is the case in Brown Bear) for a book about colors: It really makes them stand out.
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LibraryThing member NicolesBubble
This story is the about the great adventure of seven blind mice of all different colors, who find a strange something new to their home. As the week goes by each mouse goes on their own individual journey to discover what this new something is. Each mouse returns with their own version of what this
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new something could possibly be.

I enjoyed this book because it gives you an opportunity to see the imaginations of each mouse as they find their way to the right answer.

In the classroom this is a great opportunity to begin working on days of the week with students, colors and also learning how to compare different things. I think a great class activity would be to have student blind fold their partner and have each student describe what they feel, just like the seven blind mice.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Author/artist Ed Young, who won the prestigious Caldecott Medal for his 1990 picture-book, Lon Po Po, went on to win a Caldecott Honor with this 1992 title, which offers an inventive murine retelling of the classic Indian fable of The Blind Men and the Elephant. Seven blind mice, confronted with "a
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strange Something" by their pond, set out to solve the mystery of its existence. One by one they explore the Something, each coming to a different conclusion as to what it is. It falls to the final mouse to discover the truth, which he does by taking the time to "see" the entire picture, rather than just a piece of the whole.

Visually striking, with boldly graphic artwork - the pages themselves are solid black, the text is white, and the mice are vividly depicted using cut paper in bright colors (save for the final mouse, which is white) - Seven Blind Mice is a book that holds the reader's attention. It is easy to see why it was honored by the Caldecott committee! The story itself is simple but engaging, with its message of trying to "see" the whole picture, rather than just pieces of the puzzle, seamlessly presented as part of the tale. Recommended to young folklore enthusiasts, as well as to fans of Ed Young's marvelous artwork.
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LibraryThing member GWES.Second
Seven blind mice explore a mystery object and make predictions about what it could be.
LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
"It's a pillar," says one. "It's a fan," says another. One by one, the seven blind mice investigate the strange Something by the pond. And one by one, they come back with a different theory. It's only when the seventh mouse goes out and explores the whole Something that the mice see the whole
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truth. Ed Young's clear, simple artwork brings the classic Indian folktale alive for young children.
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LibraryThing member hatease
Seven blind mice were investigating what was at the end of the pond. Each mouse investigates and make a new discovery. The mysterious monster ends up being an elephant.
The book allows student to think about teamwork, using other senses and to be humble. Great visual read.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

11.25 inches


0399222618 / 9780399222610
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