Tag Archives: Antonia Barber

‘The Mousehole Cat’ by Antonia Barber & Nicola Bayley

The Mousehole CatstarstarstarstarstarInspired by an old Cornish legend, this British award winning illustrated children’s book is charming and true to its setting which I just had the pleasure to visit! On a trip to Cornwall we called in at Mousehole for lunch and enjoying seeing this picturesque village and fishing town. The boats in the harbour are all small ones because the entrance in the breakwaters is very tiny. This is how the town got its name. The townspeople depend on local fishermen for food. When an extended storm threatens the town with starvation, a fisherman and his cat save the day. Yes, in a mouse story, there must be a cat!  By the way, Mousehole is pronounced in the Cornish way (Mowzel).

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The illustrations are luminous and capture the emotions and nuance in the story. It communicates the mysterious relationship between man and the sea and underscores the vulnerability of fishermen in the face of the changeable weather and the power of the ocean.  Recently I knit an Aran sweater complete with cables and learned about how fishermen lost at sea would sometimes sadly be identified by the unique and intricate patterns their wives had designed. However, this story resolves beautifully, highlighting small town community and the courage of one special cat called Mowzer.