Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bless this Mouse

I admit I am rather fond of stories about mice, everything from The Tale of Despereaux to Brian Jacque's Redwall series.  Unfortunately, I can't say that I am overly fond of the real thing.  When I think of real mice, I always remember the time when I was a kid and we had a mouse die in the wall of my family's downstairs bathroom and the smell.  It was a pain to get it out.  This book kind of reminded me of that but not in a really bad way.

Bless This Mouse
by Lois Lowry
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011.
ISBN: 978-0-547-39009-3
Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through netGalley.


Hildegarde is in charge of a group of mice who live inside an actively used church.  Her job is to make sure the mice are taken care of but especially to make sure that the mice are not discovered.  If the mice are discovered there is sure to be a Great X.  Unfortunately, Hildegarde cannot be everywhere at once and several mice sightings by members of the church congregation do indeed lead to a forced evacuation so the mice can avoid the Great X.  And what will happen if the blessing on the animals, including a large number of cats must be moved inside the church?

A nice book generally speaking, but I confess I did not find it particularly compelling.  I appreciated the setting, Lowry does a splendid job creating the setting in the reader's mind.   But I did not find Hildegarde a character that I could relate to very well.  I didn't really start to like her until the last quarter of the book.  She has good reason to be grumpy and resentful, but I didn't enjoy reading about it.  I had no problem with the writing, and the illustrations by Rohmann were cute and appropriate. I have to admit though, the twist at the end surprised me, I was not expecting it and it made me laugh out loud.  That was when I truly liked Hildegarde and her determination to take care of her 'flock' at all costs, even at great risk to herself.  Overall, a nice book but not a great one.

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