They followed the mouse to the kitchen where a plate of ribs sat on the counter. “Someone forgot to put them away,” the mouse said. The cats pounced.

The bunny admired  a very soft rug. “Not now,”

said the mouse. “Come and take a look at this.”

She led the way to a room full of brushes and jars.

“The woman is an artist,” she said.  She picked up

a  brush. “I’ve wanted to be an artist ever since

ate that art book.”


Once upon a time, there was a very special mouse who lived in the roots of a mango tree high on a hill in Kahalu’u, on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii. Her former home had been with a professor, whose wife discovered her inside a hollowed-out art book.

       Mango Hill: A Free Book by Diana Hansen-Young

. .

“Get rid of that mouse!” his wife screamed, waving a rare chewed book at the professor.

A firm believer in non-violence, the professor released the mouse in the countryside near a hill covered with mango, lychee and java plum trees.

One night she heard rumbling noises across the valley. She thought it was New Year’s Eve, when the Chinese beetles sent up wild displays of fireworks. But when huge raindrops started to fall, she realized it was a storm. Lightening lit up the sky. Wind whipped at the branches. Her burrow flooded, and she took refuge high in the Mango tree.


Mouse called her new home Mango Hill. The only other residents were quarrelsome mynah birds, Chinese beetles, and hundreds of mean and nasty centipedes that lived in the leaves under the lychee trees. 

Mouse was too busy to be lonely. She gathered food and arranged her new burrow. But she was a sociable mouse, and when the work was done, she began to wish she had friends to share her life on Mango Hill.


In the morning, she surveyed the damage from the storm. The ground was muddy and covered with leaves and broken branches. And there was something else – something moving!  Three muddy balls of fur were crawling up the hill.


She raced down the hill, rolled them onto a breadfruit leaf, and tugged them up to her burrow, where she piled on dry leaves to keep them warm. .


She woke up to loud meowing. Two of the mud balls were hungry kittens. The third shook himself,m and two long ears broke free of the mud. It was a small bunny!

Mouse happily surveyed her new family. “Welcome to Mango Hill,” she said. “Your new home!”


She enjoyed raising her new family, although food was a problem. It was easy to show Bunny where to find choice grass, but she had a tougher time teaching the kittens to eat fruit. One of them developed a taste for java plums, and her fur turned a delicate of purple, which made it easy to tell them apart.

Once in awhile, Mouse saw a hungry look in the Purple kitten’s eyes, and she decided it was time to begin their education.



They slept all day while she cleaned the mud out of her burrow. That night, exhausted, she arranged her new family around her and snuggled up close. She was asleep before her ears hit her moss pillow.

“Except a skinny Bunny,” said the White cat. The purple cat snickered. Bunny, who had become quite round, started crying, and Mouse called a Time Out. Later, she sent them out to play, with her usual warning: “Watch out for the centipedes. They bite for fun, and it’s pure poison.”

Her first lesson was about Gratitude, specifically about not eating the Mouse that fed them.

The second lesson was about having a dream. “You can be whatever you want to be,” she said.


One day, when they were playing in the grass, a car arrived and a family piled out.

“This is it,” the woman said. “Look at those trees! We’ll call it Mango Hill!”


The purple cat was angry.  “Why do we have to share Mango Hill? We were here first.”

“Just be grateful they didn’t knock down our mango tree,” the bunny said.

“Oh, be quiet,” the white cat said. “Stop being so – so – grateful!”

“I thought of that first,” the mouse said. She herded her family back to the burrow. She was awake all night, worrying. What if the humans built a house? Would they have to leave? Where would they go?


By fall, her worst fears came true. Bulldozers cleared shrubs and trees. Workman poured cement and built a house that looked like a castle.

When the new family arrived, there were sounds of children playing, music, and fun coming from the house. What was it like in there? Mouse could no longer contain her curiosity.

“I’m going in,” she said. “If I don’t come back – well, I love you all.” With a kiss, she was gone.


They huddled together, waiting for the mouse to return. Purple cat was worried. “What if something bad happened?”

“We’ll be alone,” the white cat said, and the bunny started to cry.

“I’m sorry I made all those Round Bunny jokes,” the purple cat said, but the bunny cried harder.

They heard a noise -- and the mouse was home, and very excited. “You have to see this for yourselves. Follow me!”

She led the way to the dryer vent. They all scrambled through, except Bunny, who had to be pulled through on account of her Roundness..

“You said you could be anything you wanted to be.”

“So I did,” said the mouse, but the bunny wasn’t

paying attention. She stared at a painting, then read the name out loud: “Hibiscus Hat.” She turned to the mouse. “I want to look like that,” she said. “And I want a name, too.”

“Your name can be Hibiscus Bunny,” the mouse said. “All you need is a muumuu.”

The bunny looked worried. “Where would I get a muumuu?”

“I’ll make you one,” the mouse said. 


The cats appeared in the doorway, rubbing their tummies. “We want a muumuu, too.”  They stared at a painting called Ohana: Two Sisters. “We want to look just like that.”


Ohana means family,” the mouse said, having also eaten a Hawaiian dictionary.

“We’re sisters,” the cats said. “We can be the Ohana cats.”

But the mouse wasn’t listening. She was staring at a painting called Seated Halau Dancer on the artist’s easel, imagining what she would look like with a muumuu and a maile lei.

“Know what? I’ll make muumuus for all of us,” she said.

Just then they saw a pair of mismatched socks coming down the stairs. They heard a woman’s voice. “I think i forgot to put away the ribs,” she said.

It was the artist! They turned and ran down the hallway, out the dryer vent, and back to their burrow, where they were safe.

That night the Ohana Cats and Hibiscus Bunny dreamed of their new muumuus, ribs, and soft rugs, but all Halau Mouse could think about was paint, brushes and canvas.

The next day Halau Mouse scoured Mango Hill for paper-tree bark to make muumuus. She used mango and java plums to dye them, and found the best pili grass to make a hat for Hibiscus Bunny.

Every night, after the artist and her children were asleep, they visited the house. There always seemed to be leftovers for the Ohana Cats to eat. Hibiscus Bunny relaxed and dozed on each rug in the house.

But Halau Mouse went straight to the studio to see what the artist had painted that day. Sometimes she crept in alone to sit quietly in a corner to watch the artist work. One night she could no longer resist temptation. She picked up a brush, mixed some green paint, and finished the maile lei the artist had started to paint.

A thrill ran through her from head to toe. She knew she was born to paint!

From then on, she grew bolder, adding flowers and hats. On one occasion, she painted a small gecko into the green maile leaves, something that she felt enhanced the over-all ambiance of the painting.

Soon she was staying until dawn, finishing the paintings that the artist had been too tired to complete.


TO CONTINUE, click here to go to MANGO HILL Part 2 . . . . .Mango_Hill_Book_Pt_2.htmlMango_Hill_Book_Pt_2.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0

MANGO HILL is the first book in the series. To read, scroll down, and at the end of Part I, go to Mango Hill Part 2.


To return to Mango Hill Pt. 1, click here.

To go on to the Ticklebugs of Mango Hill, click here.

To return HOME, click here.

To go to the FREE Mango Hill art to download and color, click here.

To write to Diana Hansen-Young email:

Children: To Write to Halau Mouse, email: