Book Review: The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail

Book Review: The Mouse with the Question Mark TailThe Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
Published by Dial Books on July 2nd 2013
Pages: 224
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Newbery Award-winning author Richard Peck is at his very best in this fast-paced mystery adventure. Fans of The Tale of Desperaux, A Little Princess, and Stuart Little will all be captivated by this memorable story of a lovable orphan mouse on an amazing quest.

The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn't even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. There he's called "Mouse Minor" (though it's not quite a name), and he doesn't make a success of school. Soon he's running for his life, looking high and low through the grand precincts of Buckingham Palace to find out who he is and who he might become.

Queen Victoria ought to be able to help him, if she can communicate with mice. She is all-seeing, after all, and her powers are unexplainable. But from her, Mouse Minor learns only that you do not get all your answers from the first asking. And so his voyage of self-discovery takes him onward, to strange and wonderful places.

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail is a book I knew I would enjoy. I also found this one on audio at the local library and it is always nice to break up longer audios with short ones. Right off the bat, this book reminded me of The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. I know in the description of the book it also mentions the similarities between the two books. The audio was well done and I found it fun to listen to and wanting to learn what would happen next to the brave Mouse Minor.

Mouse Minor is named such since he has never been named. He is an orphan, unsure of who his parents are and lives with his Aunt Marigold. When he is sent off to school to train to be a London Royal Mouse, he finds that he doesn't fit in and ends up on the run in search for his true identity. Along the way, he meets the human Queen of England – Victoria, and finds that there may be a good explanation for why he grew up away from his parents. 

I loved the journey that Mouse Minor travels through this book, questioning who he is and where he truly belongs. The spirit of the small mouse fills the story and I found myself rooting for him to find the answers he needs. There's something so lovely about books about mice or other small creatures. I've found myself drawn to these stories and hope my students will be as well.

Final Verdict: Richard Peck brings history and self-discovery into this charming tale of a mouse who just want to know who he is and where he belongs.

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