My friend, Vladimir, suggested that I read The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban. I think we may have been having a discussion about The Little Prince which is one of my favorite books. Anything that Vladimir suggests always has merit so I went to my local library and checked the book out.
There are debates about whether this is really a children's book. It definitely has some dark moments. Regardless, it's interesting to look at the world through a toy's point-of-view as happens sometimes in children's books. Of course, the toy is more than merely a wind-up toy, otherwise it would hold little interest for an adult...or even a child.
I remember the fascination my youngest daughter, Lauren, had for her huge collection of stuffed animals. She used to play for hours, talking to them. As a child, they were more than toys for her. They blurred the boundary of animate and inanimate, real and pretend, human and toy. Often when these boundaries are blurred, that's where we will find real truth.
The Mouse and His Child offers truth to those who are open to finding it:
“I don’t suppose anyone is ever completely self-winding. That’s what friends are for.” Frog
“The enemy we fled at the beginning waited for us at the end...but he’s not an enemy any more.” Child
“Infinity. There’s no end to it. There comes a time when each of us must contemplate it.” Serpentina
“Each of us, sunk in the mud however deep, must rise on the propulsion of his own thought.” Serpentina
“Each of us must journey through the dogs, beyond the dots, and to the truth, alone.” Serpentina
“The bottom is strangely close to the top.” Frog