Milo and the Magical Stones

by Marcus Pfister (North-South Books NY 1997)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other-peace with the environment

highly recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library


Marcus' enchanting story is about cliff mice. Their beautiful island provided a safe sanctuary for them. But when the icy winter winds blew they would huddle together for warmth. This heart warming story about how these mice together chose to solve their dilemma is for all ages to enjoy and share together and it contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  • nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  •    challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  • peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     ..and element that supports the idea that peace is possible

Milo discovered an amazing stone. When the other mice heard of his discovery they also wanted to have stones like his. These magical stones would certainly solve all their problems. But the mice needed to understand:

"The stones belong to the island. If you take something form the island,

you  must give something back in return."

The story has two possible endings to choose: a sad ending and a happy ending.

Which one would the mice choose?

Which one would you choose?

The consequences of our choices are important considerations. The mice were also made aware of the importance of maintaining balance and harmony with the environment in relation to any choices they made.

Critical questions to explore with children

  • Describe the place where the cliff mice lived.
  • What did they do on warm summer nights?
  • How did they cope during the cold dark winters?
  • What extraordinary find did Milo make?
  • Why were the other mice attracted to the magical stone?
  • What was wise old Balthazar's warning to the mice?
  • Do you think the mice should have left the stones where they were?
  • Which ending do you think would have more likely occurred?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • What would mice living on a cliff on the edge of an island need to survive?
  • Were the mice livingly peacefully together before the magical stone was discovered by Milo?
  • Were the mice too greedy?
  • Was paying tribute to the island enough payment for giving something in return?
  • How else could the mice have solved their lighting and heating problems?
  • Was life on the island hard for the mice?
  • What other things could Milo have done with the stone he found?
  • How else could the story have ended happily with win-win?

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation October 2005

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