Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bless this mouse by Lois Lowry illustrated by Eric Rohmann

There seem to have been such a lot of books about mice on my reading pile lately so I waited to begin this one.  I find it best to mix up my reading between genres so that I can remember the plot lines of individual books and not blend them together.

With the election of the new Pope last week this was the perfect book to read this morning as it set in a church although this in an Anglican church.  On my recent trip to UK I visited grand churches and enjoyed hearing those beautiful names like nave, transept, chancel and sacristy.  In this book Bless this mouse I have learnt a new term - narthex.  "Next she found herself in the narthlex  Hildegarde so liked the formal names for the parts of the church.  If she were an ordinary mouse, she thought, twitching her nose at this idea, this would be know as the front hall.  What an ordinary name! Narthex had a ring to it.  You knew you were in an important place when you entered a narthex!"

Hildegarde is mouse mistress at Saint Barthloemew's.  In her charge are over 200 mice including her friends Roderick and Francis, who used to live at the university library, and her rival Lucretia.

This book is simply a delight.  If you are a Tumtum and Nutmeg fan you must read Bless this Mouse. Hildegarde herself is a wonderful character. She is firm in her convictions, wise in her actions and loyal to her people.  When not one not two but three mice are seen by humans in the church Hildegarde know it is time to act quickly before the Great X leads to their extermination.  She carefully organizes for all the mice to leave the church and take shelter in the graveyard.  "I know most of you have never been Outdoors before.  We are not, after all, field mice!'  The audience tittered.  Field mice! Of course they weren't field mice!.  'And we will not be here long. Probably two days. But I myself have traveled a bit from time to time, and have learned to appreciate some of the dangers of the Outdoors.  So I want to alert you."

The first plan to avoid the Great X involves eating the phone book so Father Murphy cannot find the number to call, then they decide to just eat the page with the number so the mice, after some very hard work, turn the phone book to the X section only to discover there is no mention of the terrible X.  Later Hildegarde overhears Father Murphy on the phone and realizes their mistake.  It is not X it is E for EXTERMINATOR!

The way these wonderful mice outwit the exterminator will have you cheering right to the last page.  Here is a detailed review and another one too.  This book also reminded me of Mossop's last chance by Michael Morpurgo which has long been a favourite book of mine.

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