The Mystery Mouse


Did you know that "for every job a human holds, there is a mouse doing the same job, and doing it better?" This is the theme behin

Did you know that "for every job a human holds, there is a mouse doing the same job, and doing it better?" This is the theme behind Richard Peck's newest book, The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail, which will be released on July 2, 2013. The book is written in first person, or, as I should call it, first mouse.  The story takes place in 1897, the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in London, England. The main character is named… well, he doesn't really know his true name, but he is called Mouse Minor because he is the smallest mouse in the entire royal mouse academy.



Minus the fact that he is extremely small, Mouse Minor is not that different from the rest of the mice at school, except for his tail.  When his tail isn't wrapped around himself or keeping him balanced while scurrying around, it naturally falls into the shape of a question mark!  After almost an entire year of schooling at the academy, Mouse Minor decides to run away!  This decision takes him on many adventures inside and outside of the academy and Buckingham Palace.  His travels take him on encounters with a cat, some horses, and even Queen Victoria herself!  Mouse Minor thinks he's seen it all, but when bats kidnap him, he instantly regrets thinking that!  The little mouse is full of questions including, "Who am I?" and, "Who am I to be?".  Will the tiny orphan mouse ever figure out who he was and who he is to be? Will he ever be respected and liked by his peers?  Read this book to have these questions and many more answered.



It was difficult for me to read through the part where Mouse Minor was getting bullied by two big, mean mice that "smelled of drains".  Regardless, his sass and attitude made me stick with the book and laugh out loud throughout.  



I liked this book for its interesting vocabulary, which includes: mews, poppycock, and dewlaps. This book mixes historical fiction, fantasy and adventure. The author uses a lot of British terms that you don't usually find in other kids' books I've read.  I recommend this book for kids in grades four-seven.  I can't recommend this book for bedtime reading because some of the scenes are scary and graphic.  The bullying and cruelty in the book towards the main character was pretty extreme.  (This book I read was an advanced reading copy that I quoted from, so you may not find the exact quotes throughout the book.) I would rate this tale about tails four out of five squeaks.