Secrets at Sea

Secrets at Sea
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
October 13, 2011
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In the beloved tradition of "The Borrowers," "The Tale of Desperaux," and "The Cricket in Times Square," here is an irresistible adventure story of the tiny individuals who secretly live among us humans.

Helena is the oldest of four mouse siblings who live in the walls of the Cranston estate. It is 1887 when the nouveau riche Cranstons decide to take a cruise ship to England in search of a husband for their awkward older daughter. The Cranston mice stow away in the luggage . . . and so begins the time of their lives, as they meet intriguing, cosmopolitan mice onboard and take it upon themselves to help the human Cranston daughters find love. They might just find perfect futures for themselves as well!

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Definitely Dive in to 'Secrets at Sea'
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Throw spiders, snakes, or scorpions at me and I’ll be perfectly fine. Rodents, however, are a different story entirely. I’ll be crying and squealing on top of a chair in no time. So going into Richard Peck’s “Secrets at Sea,” I wasn’t sure how connected I could get to his mouse main character. Fortunately for me, my rodent fears didn’t transfer to Peck’s lovable Cranston mouse family.

“Secrets at Sea” follows Helena Cranston as her and the rest of her mouse family move to Europe with the humans they’ve been covertly living with for generations. As the oldest of four orphaned siblings, Helena thinks moving with the human Cranstons across the pond is the best chance her family has for stability. While on a ship to their new home, Helena discovers that her and her siblings’ lives could change much more than she ever imagined.

What I loved about “Secrets at Sea” is that Peck expertly blended this world of talking rodents with our own human world. Peck blatantly points out inconsistencies between this mouse world and our own, attributing these inconsistencies to a mouse’s ability to disguise itself as an unassuming and unintelligent little mammal. These little tidbits of how mice disguise themselves occur throughout the story, leaving readers with a fully developed mouse universe by the time the book ends.

I also enjoyed how timely “Secrets at Sea” is to the royal goings on of the twenty-first century. There are various degrees of royalty within the mouse world, and with Prince William and Kate Middleton marrying and having children, this mouse pomp and circumstance was recognizable with what we see today. Peck made these real royal events relatable to young readers by portraying them through his adorable characters. The regal displays of royalty also gave the book a sense of whimsy, and left me daydreaming about what it would be like to be a part of such an opulent lifestyle (although preferably as a human and not a rodent).

With this royal and whimsical feel to a very developed mouse world within our own, “Secrets at Sea” is a book readers should definitely dive in to.
Good Points
An adorable animal world that coincides with our human lives.
A story set in 1887 that feels timely.
A great introduction for young readers into royalty.
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