July 28, 2014
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann
Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse
by Torben Kuhlmann
North South books
Do you ever wonder what inspires people to do great things? Obviously, Torben Kuhlmann does and one of the things that he wonders about is Lindbergh’s flight over the Atlantic. What on earth could inspire an aerial mail carrier to try something so dangerous?
His fanciful answer is a story about a mouse who loved to learn. The mouse would hide away and read and read and read.
One day, he emerged from his reading to discover that all of the other mice were gone. Why had they left? Reading some more, he discovers a horrible invention — the mouse trap. Certainly this trap couldn’t have eliminated all of the mice in such a short time. They must have left, perhaps for America. The little mouse tries to get onto a ship but everywhere he turns are cats and more cats. He escapes into the sewers where he eventually encounters his flying cousins, the bats.
It is the bats who inspire him to fly and he, in turn, inspires a little boy named Charles.
I’ve heard wonderful things about this book and have been waiting for it for quite some time from the library. Ultimately, the illustrations are what sold me on the story. Kuhlmann studied illustration and communication design at the HAW in Hamburg. His skill in illustration is obvious. The rich browns he used to create them bring to mind sepia print photographs, perfect for this historic feeling tale. This feel continues in the distressed appearance of the book cover — clear evidence of Kuhlmann’s skill as a designer.
The story itself is one of inspiration, failure and continued attempts until success is finally achieved. Although it is a fantasy, it tells a true story of experimentation and invention.