13 July 2013

{Book Review} The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail

By: Me My Shelf And I | 13 July 2013 at 9:22 AM | | | | | | | |


The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail
Author: Richard Peck
Pages: 244
Reading Level:Middle Grade
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Rating: 3 Birds

Newbery Award-winning author Richard Peck is at his very best in this fast-paced mystery adventure. Fans of The Tale of Desperaux, A Little Princess, and Stuart Little will all be captivated by this memorable story of a lovable orphan mouse on an amazing quest.
The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn't even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. There he's called "Mouse Minor" (though it's not quite a name), and he doesn't make a success of school. Soon he's running for his life, looking high and low through the grand precincts of Buckingham Palace to find out who he is and who he might become.
Queen Victoria ought to be able to help him, if she can communicate with mice. She is all-seeing, after all, and her powers are unexplainable. But from her, Mouse Minor learns only that you do not get all your answers from the first asking. And so his voyage of self-discovery takes him onward, to strange and wonderful places.

For fans of Stewart Little and The Tale of Despereaux, The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail is another adorable addition to the mouse stories that younger audiences will love. Equipped with adorable illustrations and witty jokes, and historically appealing as well as knowledgeable about the Victorian Era and English culture, I found The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail a simple and pleasant read. All these books taking place in jolly old England really helps with my diversity in novels.

Definitely a novel that children will adore and find funny. The overall story is indeed appealing, but also extremely predictable. Younger target audiences might not think so, but I did. The adventure that Mouse Minor had were interesting while the details about all the different mouse roles like the Royal Mews were fun and intriguing to read and the illustrations added decorative flair. As well, other animals play an important roles in this story like cats, horses and bats. The animals, I felt, were an enjoyable addition to the novel and make for funny commentary when with Mouse Minor.

It does happen to be a very quick read. Only 224 pages long. So the story really does revolve around the world-building of this Victorian Era and how the mice go around and conduct their lives to the Queen. Many phrases are repeated frequently throughout like, "Nameless is Blameless" and always going on about Minor Mouse's height as an ongoing joke for the most part. Meanwhile, the character development with Mouse Minor is very thin. It is as if the idea behind the lacking name the little main mouse of the novel has makes for the lack in character depth. Physical appearances such as his small height and his question mark tail are really what define Mouse Minor as a character, right beside his persistence in figuring out who he is and why he doesn't have a name, rather than taking the time to go below the surface.

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail definitely reaches the mark for appealing towards younger children. But the appeal really remains in that group. Older audiences might enjoy it for the story and the illustrations, but find the lacking in character development and predictability stunt some of the novel's enjoyment.




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