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Anatole is a mouse who lives in an unnamed 'mouse village' outside the French city of Paris. One day, while commuting by bicycle to forage for food, he overheard some humans complaining about mice as villainous. Deeply aggrieved at the insult to his honor, Anatole resolved to do better.
To do so, he goes to work in a French cheese factory as a taster and evaluator of the factory's product. Working alone and anonymously late at night, he leaves notes to guide the cheesemakers in their work. His taste for good cheese leads to the factory's commercial success and to his murine fame - to such an extent that Anatole is regularly hailed as a "mouse magnifique" by rodent contemporaries. The factory's human owners and workers also hold his work in high esteem, although they have no idea that the mysterious Anatole is a mouse, believing him simply an eccentric cheese connoisseur who prefers to work alone.
In these works the author, through the character of Anatole, consistently places emphasis on the dignity of work. Anatole lives in a conventional nuclear family, married to the beautiful and supportive Doucette and with six lovely children.
The stories have also been used for an animated television series from Canada's Nelvana studios and France's Alphanim. The 26-episode series originally aired on America's CBS network in 1998 and was rerun on the Disney Channel from 2001 until 2004. Previously in 1966, there was an animated segment based on the books for the cult film Alice of Wonderland in Paris.
In 2014, "Anatole" and "Anatole and the Cat" was adapted into a successful musical with book and lyrics co-authored by John Maclay and Lee Becker and with music by James Valcq. First Stage, a prominant theatre for Young Audiences in Milwaukee, premiered the show in February of 2014 and it was met with great commercial and critical success.
Anatole series titles
- Anatole (1956)
- Anatole and the Cat (1957)
- Anatole and the Robot (1960)
- Anatole over Paris (1961)
- Anatole and the Poodle (1965)
- Anatole and the Piano (1966)
- Anatole and the Thirty Thieves (1969)
- Anatole and the Toyshop (1970)
- Anatole in Italy (1973)
- Anatole and the Pied Piper (1979)
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