Bless This Mouse

Gr 2—4—The colony of mice living in the recesses of St. Bartholomew's Church is facing two threats: the Great X, periodically called upon when humans suspect rodents; and the ubiquitous presence of cats when rain brings the annual Blessing of the Animals on the Feast of St. Francis indoors. Failed attempts to foil Father Murphy's plan to summon the exterminator force Mouse Mistress Hildegarde to lead all 219 church mice on a dangerous excursion Outdoors and into the nearby cemetery. From there, with the help of mouse colleagues Roderick and Ignatious, she dispatches a team that successfully disengages the sticky traps set by the Great X. With this challenge behind them, the mice must now steer clear of the cats during the Blessing ceremony. But Hildegarde cannot resist participating to receive a blessing on behalf of all of the mice, and, in a triumphant conclusion to the story, she marches in the procession, astonishing Father Murphy and inexplicably setting all the cats to purring as organ music swells. While some of the ecclesiastical references are a bit oblique and sure to be enigmatic to the intended audience, this transitional novel is likely to be enjoyed by future readers of Avi's "Poppy" sequence (HarperCollins). Pen-and-ink illustrations, many full-page, enhance the story, and an overhead diagram of the church elucidates some of the terminology in the text.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Lowry meets Graham Oakley (and Jan Karon) in this heartwarming fantasy about the mice of Saint Bartholemew's church. Mouse Hildegarde is our guide to the community, its joys and concerns like any other but with the perpetual fear of cats, the exterminator, and the Altar Guild ladies. Lowry's light, droll tone is just right, and Rohmann's spot illustrations have their own wit.

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