Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall
Written by Emily Bearn, illustrated by Nick Price
Little, Brown and Company
While we hold chickens near and dear to our hearts, we also have a special fondness for mice. Okay, not real mice that scamper around our feet and make nests in our basements and leave droppings in our silverware drawers. No, not those mice. Storybook mice, like Stuart Little and Despereaux. We like our mice dressed up in little suits and drinking tea, and we just wish that the ones leaving droppings in our silverware drawer would at least leave us cute handwritten notes or perhaps a pair of tiny hand stitched gloves, or something.
We suspect that many children have the same fondness for storybook mice that we do, or else why would mice books be so darned popular? And this particular book, with its British tone, old-fashioned pen and ink drawings, and high adventure is bound to be one of the more popular ones. Poor Tumtum and Nutmeg are quiet mice, and yet they never get a moment of peace in this funny middle-grade novel. They are either battling spinster aunts, fighting pirate rats or freeing wild gerbils. And while the two main characters are endearing, the real star of the show is General Marchmouse, a foolish, impetuous chap who spends most of his time in his underwear. We love, especially, the scene in which his army of mice, dressed in fluorescent orange, battle against the evil, mouse-fearing Aunt Ivy. It was one of the funniest scenes we've read in quite a while.
This is a book to be shared with a classroom of children one chapter at a time. Fans of The Poppy series by Avi and The Redwall series by Brian Jacques will gobble up this series, too. Fast-paced and funny, this book has it all!