SIDNEY — Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst read to students in Michelle Rudasill’s third-grade class at Emerson Elementary School as part of the district-wide celebration of Right to Read Week. Barhorst read one of his favorite books, “Mr. Michael Mouse Unfolds His Tale.”
The book was written and illustrated by Walter Crane, who lived in England from 1845 until 1915. Crane is considered to be an influential, and among the most prolific, children’s book creators of his generation. Along with Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway, he is one of the strongest contributors to the child’s nursery motif that the genre of English children’s illustrated literature exhibited in its developmental stages in the latter part of the 19th century.
Originally, just one copy of the book was printed, likely as a gift. It was discovered in the private library of Catharine Patterson. Yale University printed an edition of 300 copies in 1956 in facsimile of the original illustrated manuscript.
Barhorst told the students that he had found the copy of the book that he read to the students in a used books store many years ago. Because he enjoyed the book so much, his wife purchased one of the 300 facsimile copies for him a Christmas gift more than a decade ago.
The book details the escapades of a small mouse that was taken into a home and kept as a pet by the home’s owners. The mouse even tries politics for a while, but retires to private life finding it more to his liking.
After he finished reading the book, Barhorst answered the student’s many questions. “Do you enjoy your job?” asked one. “How many policemen are in your protection detail?” asked another. Still another asked about his daily schedule, another about his family and how many children he has, and still another his age. Several students asked if he could visit them in their homes.
After answering their questions, he asked the students several questions. Those questions included their plans after graduation, what character they were dressing as for Halloween, and whether they play video games.
Before leaving, Barhorst encouraged the students to get a good night’s sleep before taking the state achievement tests later this month, and to eat breakfast before leaving for school. In addition, he also asked them to make sure their parents voted in November.
“I very much enjoyed my visit to Ms. Rudasill’s class,” Barhorst stated after his visit, “and sharing with them the story of Michael Mouse. In fact, I enjoyed my visit so much I plan to return later this year and read to them again.”