Saturday, July 29, 2017

Mouseheart by Lisa Fielder

"What this mouse and this pretty rat were telling him was simply unbelievable. He didn't think they were lying, but perhaps they misunderstood the purpose of the camps and the conditions of Titus's treaty. Titus had responsibility to all who entered the gates of Atlantia. Atlantian citizens were safe. Titus cared about his subjects."

This is the great deceit.  Prince Zucker, son of Titus needs to be convinced his father is committing genocide against the mice and other small rodents as part of a corrupt peace treaty with the cats who are led by Felina.  Yes this is a violent story.

"Felina was, in a word, gorgeous. Pure white, with enormous tilted eye - one gray-green, the other the clearest icy blue. ... The queen had a perfect little pink nose, her ears were proudly pointed, and her fur looked almost too soft to touch. The gem-studded band that encircled her throat was proof of her pampered background."

The deal with Felina is for the supply of mice as food and entertainment for her subjects the cats. Lost mice and other rodents are taken to camps where they are fed and cared for prior to moving to resettlement areas.  Zucker believes "my father chooses rodents from his refugee camp and sends them out to colonize and build new cities in the tunnels."  This is not true but it will take two utterly dreadful events to show Zucker the truth.

Meanwhile three young mice have recently escaped from a New York city pet shop.  They are swept away down a storm water drain and are separated.  There is a legend among the mice who live along the subway train tunnels that their savior will be a mouse with a white circle marking around his eye. Hopper has this mark but so does his sister Pinkie.  Luckily for Hopper he makes friends with Zucker and together they are able to defeat their mutual enemy but before this can happen Hopper needs to sort out exactly who is telling the truth in a world filled with lies and deceits.

Here is a web site for this book series which includes an audio sample, games and teacher notes.  I did not feel the need for a sequel at the end of Mouseheart but I now discover there are two more titles so I will be happy to dive into the world of these mice again some time soon.  I was totally engrossed right through Mouseheart.  Little Hopper is a wonderful if naive hero and Firren, leader of the rebels, is inspirational.  I do enjoy books about mice and also books with a political layer. I should also mention the excellent illustrations which are scattered throughout the text.  One more thing - yes there are violent scenes but this is balanced with moments of true courage and warm humour.

If you enjoy Mouseheart you should then look for all the books in the Redwall series and I would also recommend Guardians of Ga'hoole if you are a fan of political intrigue.

Another stalwart mouse with a brave heart will win fans in this captivating underground adventure. Kirkus

Hopper is an easy enough protagonist to like. He cares about his siblings, even the one who doesn't deserve it, and he always tries to act selflessly. And of course, he's an adorable little mouse, so how can one not like him? The Reading Hedgehog

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