With the annual Blessing of the Animals right around the corner, Mistress Mouse Hildegard has a lot on her plate trying to keep the 200 members of her clan out of sight. Alas, a few rogue mice are seen by some parishioners and now the church mice must prepare for a Great X. Will they survive? And if they can make it through the Great X, how will they ever survive all those cats at the Blessings of the Animals?
I wanted to like this book. Scratch that. I wanted to love this book. Adorable mice. Church. A Blessing of the Animals. Alas, not 10 pages into the book we have Hildegard the Head Mistress Mouse commanding one of her charges to “stop this incessant reproduction!” And, lest we think ill of Hildegard for her harshness, the narrator admonishes us, “Hildegard was not wrong to try to limit the numbers. Too many church mice was a very dangerous situation.” On the surface, the book would you have believe that there is an infestation of very religious mice in this church building. In truth, these mice are no friends of the Church. While the mice are cute – the book is illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmann – their message isn’t. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf. Sin in a church is still a sin – even if its decked out with fur, small, ears, and a cute squeak.
- Author: Lois Lowry
- Illustrator: Eric Rohman
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (March 21, 2011)
- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher’s Reading Level: Age 9 and up
What You Need to Know:
- Role Models – Hildegard is a strong and decisive leader but she is rude, condescending, and caddy. While she deserves credit for saving the clan, her personality isn’t corrected – just avenged.
- Violence – Pest control is going to wipe out the mice. Lucretia (the mouse trying to usurp Hildegard) seems to get her due by falling into a glue trap. The ensuing struggle to get out could be considered “intense” with Lucretia in pain, screeching, feet bleding, and loses whiskers.
- Sexual Content - Though she considers herself too old for romantic foolishness, when the going gets tough she does realize that she could use a “special friend,” Roderic.
- Language – No foul language.
- Consumerism – Multiple mentions of Splenda
- Drinking/Smoking/Drugs – One mouse stays behind from meetings to eat a few flakes of tobacco. One mouse enjoys wine spilled in the sacristy as “he enjoys a good nip”. He gets “tipsy” and only stops because there isn’t anymore wine to drink.
- Religion – Anti life. Hildegard is disgusted by a mouse who has several litters. The mouse, in turn, is embarrassed of having so many children. Fear of overcrowding. Definition of Saint is “someone who is especially blessed”. It does use terms like “sacristy” and “narthex” correctly. Father Murphy regularly spills wine in the sacristy.
- Other – “Nobody likes adolescents”.