About the Book:A resilient and quirky colony of church mice fears another Great X more than they fear cats. Under Mouse Mistress Hildegarde's leadership, they save themselves from one danger after another—sometimes just by the skin of their tails! Can one ultimate act of bravery during the feast day of St. Francis get Father Murphy to bless these mice and keep them safe forever?
Rife with humor and personality, this young middle grade novel has an old-fashioned feel with the makings of a modern classic.
I've read Lois Lowry's dystopian novels and found them dark, darker than I would recommend for kids the age for which they are written, but that's just me. I'm not sure what I expected when I requested this title from NetGalley except that it would be well written, but I was charmed by this sweet story of the plucky Mistress of the Mice who made it her personal mission to keep all the mice in the church safe not only from the ordinary dangers of a couple of spring traps but also the extraordinary dangers of the Great X and the cats who visit yearly on the Feast of St. Francis. I tried to figure out if there was a deeper meaning here; something an English teacher would like me to note in an assigned paper, but I wasn't much good at that when I was in school and that's been a long time. Hildegarde might be seen as a Moses figure, leading the mice from danger and approaching the priest in the name of her kind, but she's not a Christ figure because though she risks her life, she doesn't lose it.
The illustrations add to the book, but it is not a picture book.
Kids will learn some "churchy" language like apse, narthax, sacristy, sexton, and chrism. When asked to define a saint, one of the mice said "Someone who is especially blessed". I think the church in question was Episcopal as we hear a line from the confession "I have done those things which I ought not to have done".
I'd like to thank the publisher for making a galley available via NetGalley. Grade B+
According to Amazon, it is for 9-12 year olds, and I'd say that's about right.