The Purple Ribbon

Praise for The Purple Ribbon

“In sparkling prose, Moranville creates endearing mouse characters who weather life’s ups and downs to find to and solace in one another.  From full page to spot art, Alter’s softle rendered illustrations – in watercolor, pen and ink, and colored pencil – are as charming as the story itself.  A delightful tale that illuminates the importance of family.”  Booklist, March 15, 2003






Spring, a young field mouse, gets caught in a winter storm just as she is about to have her babies. Sheltering in a rusty old car, she raises her family: Parsley Snowflake, Oak and Pebble, and frail little Jellybean. One day, the old car is taken on a trip, which leads to the children getting separated from their mother. Parsley Snowflake is a brave and clever big sister, managing to care for her younger siblings and reunite everyone at the end.


From the author:

Inspiration for The Purple Ribbon came from two sources:  my helpful dad and my years of work in child advocacy.

My parents and I lived about 400 hundred miles apart when this story was being conceived.  A few times each year, I’d load up our black lab Sox and off we’d go to visit.  My dad, like most dad’s, wanted to take care of his daughter’s – even his grown up ones.  So before I left to return to Iowa, he insisted on looking under the hood of my Toyota.  And what did he find?  A splendid mouse next resting in a declivity.  It was made of white packing bubbles and Sox’s black hair.  And it was empty.

On the way home, I wondered what had happened to the mice.  Had they been in the nest when we left Iowa?  Had the babies been on the nest, but not Mama?  Had any gotten off at a rest stop in Peoria and been left behind?  If they had been separated, how would such tiny creatures ever find their way back together?  How would they fare in the huge world?

At the time, I worked as a volunteer child advocate, serving as guardian ad litem for children who were of interest to the court because they had been abused, abandoned, or neglected.  The children I worked with had almost always been removed from the home.  If the family was large or diverse in age, often siblings were separated.  Words cannot express how damaging this was to the children.  And I saw their plight, in a small way, in Gran Dora, Spring, Parsley Snowflake, Oak, Pebble, and sweet little Jellybean.

Henry Holt                                         ISBN 0-8050-6659-4                         Illustrated by Anna Alter