The Tale of Alain

Arnold Zimmermann



Alain Souris was an adventurous sort of mouse who came from a long line of seafaring mice from Marseilles, France. His was that long-ago age when full-rigged ships and frigates and barkentines and threemasted schooners plied the oceans — and he lived for the smell of the salt air and the rhythmic roll of the tides.

One day as he walked along the piers of Marseilles, he spotted squarerigger bearing the name Count of Monte Cristo. Being as well-read as he was well-travelled, he knew and loved Dumas’ story — and a ship of the same name? Well, it was too much to resist. Alain was on board when the Count of Monte Cristo set sail — to America of the 1900s, where his real adventures begin!

Arnold Zimmermann brings us this fascinating ‘coming to America’ story that weaves seafaring lore and nature stories with life along the Mississippi from Cajun New Orleans to Lakota territory in Wisconsin.

Along the way, there are helpful animals, French-speaking Lakotas, wizards and dragons, dwarves, root children and Mother Earth — and a plot to foil and a life to save. In short — this is the sort of story that moves from one wonder to the next and holds both children and adults in rapt attention.

And there’s more: at the back there are instructions for erecting a tipi; a glossary of nautical terms and complete instructions for knitting Alain’s striped sweater, courtesy of Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Our children loved this book when they were young and played many of Alain’s adventures. It’s lovely to be able to pass it along to new children!