“BLESS THIS MOUSE,” by Lois Lowry, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, March 21, 2011, $15.99 (ages 9-12)
It’s always nice to come across a book you would have no qualms about sharing with a younger generation.
Have you ever wondered where the phrase “quiet as a church mouse” came from? Well, have you ever heard a loud mouse? The idea is a mouse could run across the floor, and even in a quiet place like a church, you wouldn’t hear it.
In “Bless This Mouse” Hildegarde — the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew’s — is counting on that silence. It’s her job to make sure all the church mice remain safe and out of sight.
It’s a job Hildegarde takes seriously, and she’s quite good at it. But when you’re in charge of a large mouse population, there’s always the possibility of a slipup. So, when a few parishioners report mouse activity, Hildegarde is prepared, or at least she thinks so.
The Great X is upon them, and it’s happening in conjunction with a ceremony called the Blessing of the Animals, where all animals, including cats, are invited to the service.
The mice have become complacent and it’s up to Hildegard to save them, but is such a tiny mouse up to such a large challenge?
“Bless This Mouse” is charming from cover to cover. With mice skittering across pages, illustrations and a creative story told from a mouse’s point of view perfectly compliment each other.
Of particular note, is the church diagram at the beginning of the book. This helps those not accustomed to naves and apses understand the layout of the church and gives a sense of where things are happening.
The mice face real-world exploits that children will relate to and young readers will delight in lifelike illustrations. There’s nothing objectionable in this great chapter book for middle readers.