cover image The Song of the Christmas Mouse

The Song of the Christmas Mouse

Shirley Rousseau Murphy. HarperCollins Publishers, $13.95 (87pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024357-9

Animal lovers will be drawn to this heartwarming winter tale about a boy's quest to befriend an orphaned field mouse. When Rick first spies the tiny striped creature perched atop a bird feeder, he thinks the animal must be the offspring of Lucy, a pet mouse that ran away. Motivated by compassion and a sense of responsibility, Rick is determined to save the mouse from starvation and the cold, but his attempts to rescue and tame it are thwarted by seven-year-old Hattie Lou, Rick's mischievous, meddling cousin. Alternately expressing the points of view of Rick and the unusual mouse, Murphy (the Dragonbards trilogy) adroitly relays ideas about discovery, survival and sacrifice. Engaging prose and an agreeable cast of characters more than compensate for the bland illustrations; they bring to life the magic of Christmas by exploring the joys and disappointments the holiday season offers one special boy. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)