Of Mice . . .
Such the disappointment! Oops. Wrong book. That was THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, of course, and this is BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry, one of three books by Newbery Medalists published this year about mice. This one hasn’t gotten nearly the buzz that the other two have, but it does have its charms.
“I’m not finished foraging,” Fredle protested. There was something on the floor behind the table leg. It didn’t smell like food, but you could never be sure. Besides, if it wasn’t food, Fredle wondered, what was it?
“That’s metal,” Axle said, adding, “Mice don’t eat metal, Fredle,” as if he didn’t already know that.
YOUNG FREDLE by Cynthia Voigt is a companion novel to ANGUS AND SADIE (about a pair of dogs who also live on the Davis farm). It has been recommended several times in the comments.
I forget what Beatrice and I were doing when Louise flung herself among us. I believe Beatrice was crumbing the table. We were beginning to think about lunch, and I’d had some mending. Our brother, Lamont, would have been at school. We hoped.
After a long string of historical fiction novels, Peck returned to contemporary YA for THREE QUARTERS DEAD, before this unexpected foray into . . . talking mice. Like YOUNG FREDLE, SECRETS AT SEA has been heartily recommended in the comments.
Most people assume that a graphic novel cannot be considered for the Newbery, but I tried to make cases for STITCHES and THE ODYSSEY in each of the past couple years. Those books had an additonal strike against them, STITCHES being published for adults and THE ODYSSEY possibly not being “original work,” or at least not original enough. I’m biding my time for the right one. I’m not sure that either of these are the right one, but Holm, a three-time Newbery Honor author, published a couple more volumes in her ever popular series, BABYMOUSE: MAD SCIENTIST and A VERY BABYMOUSE CHRISTMAS.
A high pitched murmur ran through the crowd.
Again Pip held aloft the bit of Cheshire. A slow lulling of the chatter was followed by a tense stillness, “I say a gentle blow, for it seems that where we should expect enmity, we have found amity; where we might rightly expect a threat, we have found goodwill. This is no ordinary cat. This cat has no taste for mice. He eats . . . ” Pip paused for effect. “He eats CHEESE!”
Neither Carmen Agra Deedy nor Randall Wright have the Newbery pedigree of the other authors mentioned here, but THE CHESHIRE CHEESE CAT may well be the best of the bunch. The Newbery Medal has done well by mice in the past, most notably with MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH and THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX. Can this one–can any of these–join that illustrious pair?
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at email@example.com
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