Review – Nicholas, Where Have You Been?

Nicholas is hunting for sweet juicy berries with his friends but all the best berries have been gobbled by birds. Determined to find some of his own, he sets off into the field where’s snatched by a big ugly bird. Fearing for his life, he wriggles until the bird drops him – right into a bird’s nest.

“Stay with us,” say the baby birds in the nest, keen to learn more about mice and their ways. When the mother bird returns with a worm, she’s happy to let him stay. She asks Nicholas what field mice eat – and of course, Nicholas tells her he simply adores the sweetest and juiciest berries. So, the mother bird flies off and returns with the very same.

Nicholas can’t resist staying on. He sings and chats and gobbles berries with the birds, until one day he wakes to find his friends gone.

Climbing down the tree carefully, he returns to his mice friends who ask him where on earth he’s been – and when Nicholas tells him he was snatched by a bird, they become enraged. Asking them to be patient, he soon explains about the mother and her babies, and that not all birds are bad.

Which, of course, is the moral of the story.

Leo Lionni created this sweet, retro book in 1987, when he was 77 years old. Resplendent with classic storytelling and striking, graphic imagery, it’s one of several animal-inspired tales the author is famous for, many of which feature mice.

Nicholas, Where Have You Been? is published by Dragonfly Books.