Friday, December 09, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

When, for one reason or another, you read extensively in children’s literature, you develop an eye or, perhaps, an ear. There are stories that entertain or teach or merely amuse. A very few do all of those things at once, and they do them in such a way that you know you are encountering a story for the ages. Instant classic is the way that is quite often put, implying a story that will be read and enjoyed by generations of children to come.

These are the thoughts I was having the very first time I read Bless This Mouse (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by two time Newberry medalist, Lois Lowry. Lowry’s latest tale is an engaging story of a band of churchmice who live under the gentle rule of Mouse Mistress Hildegarde at Saint Bartholomew’s.

Intended for middle grade children, Bless This Mouse manages an involving story of mice in danger from both human discovery and the annual Blessing of the Animals day when the church will be filled with creatures, including cats!
“I’m not scared of cats! I could bite cats!” Harvey bared his big crooked front teeth.

Hildegarde shook him. “Listen to me! Cats are our
worst enemy! You must fear cats! And you must watch only from the most hidden and inaccessible places…”
Lowry’s charming tale is illustrated by Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator (for My Friend Rabbit) Eric Rohman. The package is perfect: a very compelling tale enhanced by beautiful pencil drawings. A new classic is born. ◊

Monica Stark is a contributing editor to January Magazine. She currently makes her home on a liveaboard boat somewhere in the North Pacific.

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