Review: Bless This Mouse

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Bless This MouseBless This Mouse by Lois Lowry
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on March 12, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Humor
Pages: 160
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

A resilient and quirky colony of church mice fears another Great X more than they fear cats. Under Mouse Mistress Hildegarde’s leadership, they save themselves from one danger after another—sometimes just by the skin of their tails! Can one ultimate act of bravery during the feast day of St. Francis get Father Murphy to bless these mice and keep them safe forever? Rife with humor and personality, this young middle-grade novel has an old-fashioned feel with the makings of a modern classic.

Let me begin by saying that my favorite part of the story were the illustrations. The writing is good, as one expects from Lois Lowry, but the pictures were just so charming. I love looking at them, and they were a large part of why I requested this title from NetGalley, even though children’s fiction is not my particular niche.

The story is cute and simple, teaching children some big words, like narthex ans sacristy, without feeling at all like a lesson. In fact, although the mice live in the church and worship themselves, it does not feel at all like Lois Lowry is trying to indoctrinate children. There seems to be no intention of conversion here; this is just where the story happens to be set.

The mice are definitely humanized, which is cool. The only thing I didn’t like about the story was the way that that was done. I didn’t mind the mice talking in their own language at all or they’re ability to read or listen in on conversations. What bothered me is that they are depicted wearing clothing, which is cute, but I don’t think is even accurate to the story so far as I can tell. Nor did I like that a mouse was able to converse with a human at the end. If that were so easy, then they would have done so long ago. In a fantasy, I would not mind at all (for example, the mice in The 10th Kingdom), but this seems to be set in the real world. That just seemed a bit jumbled to me, and to weaken the plot up to that point.

Despite those slight weaknesses, though, this was an exceedingly cute story. Fans of children’s literature about animals should love it and I would definitely recommend it as a present to children who are reading chapter books and expanding their vocabularies.

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