Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1764
Beautiful Pictures, Beautiful Words
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Bless This Mouse, a new book written by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Eric Rohmann, is beautiful. I mean, yes, the story is charming, the writing lovely, but more than that -- the actual physical book is just beautiful. The mice are not just cute, but are distinct individuals with bright eyes, enormous ears and expressive faces. The cover is a brilliant blue, just the color of a late summer evening sky. Each chapter is peppered with charming small watercolor paintings, in addition to a number of full-page illustrations, all of which feel clean and uncluttered.

Not that youd expect less from Lois Lowry, but the writing is also beautifully sparse. She has happily left out all the words she didnt need, which means the book is easy to read, but is nevertheless packed with story and history and interesting information lightly delivered. So, for example, the terms for all the various parts of a church are used (nave, sacristy, transept, narthex, and so on) but they fall into place naturally, easily, so that a reader never feels she is being Educated (even if she is).

Bless This Mouse is the story of a clan of church mice who live in St. Bartholemews. There, they co-exist contentedly with the priests and congregation, mostly because no one knows the mice exist, which is just how Hildegarde, their leader, wants to keep it. She knows that secrecy is safety from the many dangers that threaten such small creatures: traps, brooms, exterminators& and cats.

Every 4th of October, on the Feast of St. Francis, the church holds the Blessing of the Animals, when the parishs many pets are invited to a service. If the weather is pleasant, the service will be held outside, which means the mice will be safe from hooves and paws and teeth. If it rains, however, the mice will suddenly be sharing their home with a lot of other animals, including many many cats.

Hildegarde will do whatever it takes to keep her mice safe and well, and to ensure that they can stay in their home. After all, they are church mice, as crucial to the church as its stained glass windows and incense.

Bless This Mouse would be a pleasure to read aloud, as well as a good choice for a young reader eager to move on from Frog and Toad, but not quite ready for Stuart Little. Older readers too, however, will devour the book because the more you bring to it, the more you can take away.
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