The Train Mouse


When Mr Kringle and Isengrim move from Paradise Street, life changes for Nibbles and his family. They lived happily in the cellar of Mr Ehler’s house, coping with Carlo the cat, and having a steady food supply. Yet construction plans change everything, and soon the family is shivering beneath air vents and scratching for food.

While Nibbles finds a food source at Munich station, he is unprepared for awakening one day on the Munich to Hamburg train. It seems the warmth of the carriage and the supply of cake crumbs have overwhelmed him! Thereafter, Nibbles becomes aware that this particular route offers him the shelter and food for which he’s longed. However, stories told by Insegrim and Grandad lead to Nibbles desire to discover more. What of Switzerland with cheese into which mice might gnaw holes? Or Paris with its baguettes and wonderful variety of cheeses?

Nibbles travels across Europe and has a variety of experiences, some wonderful and some nearly cat- astrophic! We are ca(p)t-ivated by Nibble’s tales as he becomes The Train Mouse.

Bookwagon is so happy to have discovered this German translation. It’s a gorgeous story, just right for readers with less experience, but also gripping and enjoyable for older readers too. Axel Sheffler’s illustrations are the icing on the cake (crumbs)!


The Train Mouse

Uwe Timm, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, translated by Rachel Ward

(Andersen Press)– hardback

Nibbles is The Train Mouse. Despite Insengrim’s stories ‘about the wide world‘, Nibbles does not intend to journey so far or for so long. After all he is an ordinary mouse’ born in the city of Munich in Germany, on Paradise Street’. However, when circumstances mean his family are forced to forage for food scraps at the railway station and shiver beneath the air vent, their lives are particularly difficult. There comes a time that Nibbles’ search for food leads him to a pile of Christmas cake crumbs aboard the train to Hamburg. He isn’t aware that the train has left the station before it’s too late. Although the accident means warm shelter and a steady supply of food, Nibbles is separated from his family. Furthermore, events unfurl that mean Nibbles travels further to Switzerland, to seek the chance to be one of the mice that ‘gnaws holes in cheese’. Thereafter, maybe Paris, with baguettes ‘tailor-made for mice’. might be a resting place?
The Train Mouse is a satisfying, engaging chapter book, translated from German by Rachel Ward. Just as Nibbles’ wider family love hearing his adventures, so we, his readers, delight in learning what befalls him. How does he manage the dangerous cats of Paris, or threatening rat in the Hull ship’s wheat hold? Why are there white mice in a glass jar? Bookwagon is delighted to recommend this entrancing book to our readers.


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