cover image The Wizard Mouse

The Wizard Mouse

Dean Morrissey. Harper, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-008066-2

After a five-year hiatus, Morrissey (The Crimson Comet) returns with the tale of a mouse’s quest to fulfill his potential; he does, but his story, unfortunately, does not. Rollie, a field mouse, knows he’s destined for greatness, quitting his job gathering corn and heading for the Kingdom of Muddmoor, which has always intrigued him. Soon after, he discovers the tower of Solarus, the Wizard of Muddmoor, whose memory and abilities are in decline. Offering his assistance, Rollie finds mention of a magical fish in one of the wizard’s spell books, locates the fish, and restores the wizard’s powers in short order. Morrissey throws no challenges in the way of his small hero, whose victories are so easy that they are deprived of any sense of accomplishment or meaning. Morrissey’s oil paintings are skillful and gorgeous, particularly his portraits of the bearded, crimson-robed wizard; his hero, though, is quite static and doesn’t betray much emotion. Dashes of humor in the narrative (including a recurring gag about floating cows) are welcome, but not enough to redeem this outing. Ages 5–9. (Oct.)