Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NetGalley Review: Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

I received an advanced reader's copy of Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry back in early January.  I am appalled at how long it has taken me to get to this wonderful book, but shortly after receiving the galley, I had two surgeries.  The galley got pushed aside in all the recovery and follow up.

Summary:  Bless This Mouse tells the story of a group of church mice, led by Mouse Mistress Hildegarde and their efforts to avoid The Big X.  Hildegarde is responsible for keeping all 200 plus mice who live at St. Bartholemew's safe and hidden. Not an easy job when new litters are being born and her nemesis Lucretia is constantly looking for ways to undermine Hildegarde so she can become Mouse Mistress.  To make matters even more challenging, the mice are discovered and must seek refuge outside the church while Father Murphy calls in The Big X to get rid of them. After a few days the mice are able to return to the church, but they are not out of danger yet.  The Blessing of the Animals is any day and you know what that means - Cats! Lots and lots of cats!  Will Hildegarde be able to keep everyone safe?

Lois Lowery is perhaps best known for her serious novels: The Giver and Number the Stars - for which she won Newbery Awards.  However, she makes the transition to animal stories with ease.  This is a delightful story about overcoming dangers and appreciating all animals great and small..  While there is a significant religious connection, it is not overpowering and will not put off those of a more secular nature.  Lowry has created likable characters that will delight readers.  These mice are more like Laura Numeroff's popular school attending picture book mouse than the rodents that generally make humans squeal with disgust.  Hildegarde is a clever and hardworking character and will have readers rooting for her success against the Great X. Illustrator Eric Rohmann's wonderful pencil drawings help make the mice even more charming..

Amazon lists the reading level as 9 - 12, which sounds just right. It was also make a great read aloud for 2nd grade classrooms.

This a must read for fans of Lois Lowry and animals stories in general.

Mrs. Archer's Rating:  5 of 5.

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