I recently bought the Italian translation of this German book by Kathrin Schärer. It’s a simple story of a city-mouse visiting his friend in the country; he is shown all the beauties and simplicity of life in the countryside and he appreciates them but he feels a bit out of place. To reciprocate he invites the country-mouse to the city and shows him all the city has to offer with its abundance, chaos and people. The country mouse appreciates some advantages but prefers to return home.
This simple tale has a long tradition; it dates back to Aesopus and Oratius and traditionally it was supposed to sing praise of the simple lifestyle of the countryside and criticize the opulence of the city lifestyle.
The author clearly chooses a version that does not choose one way of living over the other; the story is meant to teach children to appreciate what they have and be curious about what happens elsewhere. The important thing is to know and understand each other, and to remain friends.
And the illustrations are powerful and stylish. Unfortunately it does not seem to have been translated into English, but you can buy it in Italian or German!