Monday, April 9, 2012

Wibberley wrote The Mouse that Roared

Leonard Wibberley
It is the birthday of Irish-born author Leonard Wibberley (1915), whose satirical novels about the fictional country of Grand Fenwick poked fun at America during the Cold War. The first of the series was The Mouse That Roared (1955). It first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in late 1954 and early 1955 under the title The Day New York Was Invaded and then was published as a book. It was adapted as a film in 1959, starring Peter Sellers and Jean Seberg. It was subsequently adapted as a play in 1963 and a television pilot in 1964, but was never produced as a TV series. The four sequels to the original novel were Beware of the Mouse (1958), The Mouse on the Moon (1962), The Mouse on Wall Street (1969), and The Mouse that Saved the West (1981). The European Duchy of Grand Fenwick is an Alpine country between France and Switzerland. Its only export is Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. When an American winery makes a knockoff, Pinot Grand Enwick, it puts the country nearly into bankruptcy. So Grand Fenwick declares war on the United States, expecting a quick defeat and a generous rebuilding plan (a la the Marshall Plan in Germany). Grand Fenwick invades New York City and defeats the United States (accidentally) and madcap bedlam ensues. Wibberley also wrote other novels, short stories, poetry, and history and biography as well as more than 50 juvenile books. Under the pseudonym Leonard Holton, he wrote the 11-book Father Joseph Bredder mystery series (1959-1977). He also wrote as Christopher Webb and Patrick O'Connor.

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